- Spain deaths pass 10k
- Global cases near 1 million mark
- Infection in New Delhi slum sparks fears of mass breakout
- PM Abe mocked for handing out ‘two masks’ to every Japanese household
- British health official says “everybody is frustrated” about test shortage
- Half the world on lockdown, AFP reports
- UN climate summit canceled
- Singapore reports 49 new cases
- London’s Francis Crick institute develops rapid test
- Pence says US facing similar trajectory to Italy
- Tokyo reports record 97 cases in a day
- UN projects global economy will contract 1% in 2020
- Putin extends Russian shutdown
- Philippines’ ambassador to Lebanon dies of COVID-19
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Update (1030ET): As data begin to show that lockdowns in Italy and Spain are finally showing some success in ‘flattening the curve’ (though this unfortunately didn’t stop hospitals in Madrid and Milan and the surrounding area from being overwhelmed), more leaders are imposing them. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday extended the country’s “non-working holiday” until the end of April, adding an additional 2 weeks to the shutdown as he insisted that the isolation efforts were working to stop the spread of the virus.
The AFP, which has been assiduously tracking stay at home orders and government lockdowns, just proclaimed that half of the world’s population has been subjected to some level of lockdown during the crisis so far.
As the US quarantines troops in Afghanistan, the French government announced on Thursday that four French soldiers stationed in Mali have tested positive for COVID-19. Of them, three have been sent home.
Elsewhere, Singapore reported 49 new novel coronavirus cases on Thursday, raising the city-state’s total number of infections to 1,049. It’s the latest indication that Asian countries that initially found success in combating the virus are seeing a resurgence.
In the UK, the official death toll from the coronavirus rose 24% to 2,921 as of Thursday morning, the Department of Health announced. Total cases numbered at 33,718.
UPDATE on coronavirus (#COVID19) testing in the UK:
As of 9am 2 April, a total of 163,194 people have been tested of which 33,718 tested positive.
As of 5pm on 1 April, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 2,921 have sadly died. pic.twitter.com/AbPp29Ijwv
— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) April 2, 2020
Testing update for England from Public Health England (@PHE_uk):
10,657 tests were carried out yesterday in England.
Testing capacity for inpatient care in England currently stands at 12,799 tests per day. pic.twitter.com/vV24UUtXLi
— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) April 2, 2020
Even as Boeing’s CEO brazenly insists his company won’t accept federal bailout money if it would leave the federal government with a stake in Boeing, the struggling aerospace company and defense contractor on Thursday rolled out a ‘voluntary worker layoff program’, telling employees that it hoped to avoid “other workforce actions” as the entire aviation industry is rattled by the crisis.
And unfortunately for Greta Thunberg, who has probably finished recovering from her imaginary case of the coronavirus by now, the outbreak has led to this year’s United Nations global climate summit being postponed. Looks like Greta will need to find another gathering of world leaders to shout at.
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Before we get started today, let’s take a minute to review…
- 3/10 1,000
- 3/11 1,267
- 3/12 1,645
- 3/13 2,204
- 3/14 2,826
- 3/15 3,505
- 3/16 4,466
- 3/17 6,135
- 3/18 8,760
- 3/19 13,229
- 3/20 18,763
- 3/21 25,740
- 3/22 34,276
- 3/23 42,663
- 3/24 52,976
- 3/25 65,273
- 3/26 82,135
- 3/27 101,295
- 3/28 121,176
- 3/29 139,773
- 3/30 160,377
- 3/31 185,469
- 4/01 199,729
…and on Thursday? 4/02 216,722
That looks like exponential growth to us.
Now that the administration is “all in” on social distancing as America battles what is now the biggest novel coronavirus outbreak in the world, President Donald Trump warned that Americans are heading for a “horrendous” two or three weeks as they hunker down at home, reiterating his warning about “painful” times ahead, while raising the possibility that the government might shutter all remaining domestic flights between coronavirus ‘hot spots’ in the US like NYC and Miami.
Looking ahead, economists are bracing for Thursday’s initial jobless claims to jump as much as 5 million – maybe even 6.5 million – after yesterday’s ADP report on private employment, and after last week’s record 3.3 million jump.
“I am looking where flights are going into hot spots.” Trump replied when asked if he was considering a temporary ban on all domestic flights. “Some of those flights I didn’t like from the beginning, but closing up every single flight on every single airline, that’s a very, very, very rough decision. But we are thinking about hot spots, where you go from spot to spot, both hot. And we’ll let you know fairly soon.”
“We’re certainly looking at it but once you do that you really are clamping down on an industry that is desperately needed,” Trump said.
On Thursday morning, the number of confirmed cases in the US climbed above 5,000 (it was 5,137 when we last checked), while the number of confirmed cases has climbed above 200k (to 216,722). This, after Vice President Pence said during last night’s press conference that models suggest the US is facing a trajectory similar to Italy’s, the country with the highest number of coronavirus deaths with more than 13k.
NYC remains the epicenter in the US, with more than 1,374 deaths, more than double the death toll from the rest of the state (585). The global case count is quickly heading toward the big 1 million (last count: 939,436) as case numbers in the US and Europe surge (even as Italy and Spain show the first signs of a ‘plateau’ of new cases) while China, South Korea and other Southeast Asian nations and territories (Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong) report a second wave. Around the world, 76,836 cases were reported yesterday.
More than 10,000 people have now died in Spain after contracting coronavirus, with a record 950 of them dying on Wednesday, the latest in a grim streak of daily death-toll records. Death toll records released Thursday morning in Spain showed the official death toll hitting 10,003, up from 9,053 the day before.
Spain now has 110,238 confirmed cases of coronavirus, an 8% increase. Though that’s slowed from the ~25% daily jumps seen earlier this month, it doesn’t change the fact that Spain is 2.5 weeks into a shelter in place-style lockdown. Thanks to the lockdown, Spain recorded its biggest jump in unemployment in its history, with more than 800,000 people filing for benefits last week. The jump in deaths recently has pushed Spain’s mortality rate well above that of the US.
As it turns out, the US isn’t the only developed western country that is ill-prepared to ramp up testing for the novel coronavirus: As angry tabloid headlines bash the British government, led by a currently sickened PM Boris Johnson, a top British health official expressed frustration with the government’s struggles to provide enough tests, claiming that “everybody involved is frustrated” as the UK scrambles to ramp up testing, the FT reports.
Fortunately, London’s Francis Crick Institute has developed a rapid diagnostic coronavirus test and says it hopes to test 500 frontline workers a day from next week.
Though the US government is preparing to bail out American airlines, international airlines remain locked in a free fall: On Thursday, British Airways is expected to announce plans to suspend about 32,000 employees as it seeks to cut costs now that nobody is flying unless they absolutely need to.
As businesses continue to struggle with planning for the future, a new report from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs said the global economy could shrink by almost 1% before year’s end. Before the outbreak, they had anticipated growth of 2.5%, the Washington Post reports.
Now that the 2020 Tokyo Games have been officially postponed until next year (they’re still the 2020 Games though), Japan can focus on fighting the virus without that albatross around its neck: But as the country stands “on the very brink” of a coronavirus crisis, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has resisted calls to try and enforce a state of emergency and other measures. Instead, he’s planning to send every household two small washable cloth masks, a decision that has earned him no shortage of ridicule.
Abe’s “two masks” plan was brutally mocked on social media, with many questioning how the masks would be split between a whole family.
— 北村ヂン (@punxjk) April 1, 2020
Tokyo alone reported 97 new cases on Thursday, a new record high, and the latest in a two-week resurgence that has turned back the clock on Japan’s fight against the virus.
As more government officials catch the virus, the Philippine ambassador to Lebanon died of complications arising from the virus this week, the country’s Department of Foreign Affairs announced on Thursday. Ambassador Bernardita M. Catalla, a nearly 30-year veteran of the diplomatic corps., died in Beirut early Thursday morning.
Finally, as Indians continue to grumble about that the inept implementation of that country’s three-week lockdown, imposed despite a relative dearth of cases as officials feared rapid spreading in the country’s slums, the death of a middle-aged man in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum has stoked worries about the highly contagious virus ripping through what’s widely regarded as the largest slum in Asia.