Coronavirus death toll tops 10,000 worldwide as crisis continues to escalate in Europe
- Total deaths have reached 10,000 and there are more than 245,600 cases
- The coronavirus is ravaging Europe, which accounts for half of deaths
- China accounts for a third of victims having battled COVID-19 since December
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
The coronavirus death toll has topped 10,000 worldwide, doubling in one week, as the crisis continues to escalate in Europe.
Almost half of all COVID-19 deaths have occurred in Europe, with Italy reporting devastatingly high numbers every day.
China, where the killer virus first emerged, accounts for a third of all victims, having battled the disease since December 2019.
More than 245,000 cases have been reported across the globe, soaring from 100,000 reported just two weeks ago.
More than half (164,600) are outside of China, despite it originally reporting 90 per cent of all cases in the early days of the pandemic.
Paramedicals carry a Coronavirus COVID-19 patient with a stretcher, to take him to the hospital ward in Naples, Italy, on March 19. Photo by Salvatore Laporta
A view of Rockefeller Center complex on 6th avenue during the coronavirus outbreak on March 19, 2020 in New York City
Members of firefighters wear protective face masks, amid fear of coronavirus disease as they disinfect the streets, ahead of the Iranian New Year Nowruz, March 20
Sanitisation operations have also been taking place in Italy in a bid to stem the danger of contagion and spread of the coronavirus
Pictured: Intensive care unit of the hospital of Brescia, Italy
On March 13, just seven days ago, the number of deaths had risen to 5,000.
More than 86,000 people have recovered, mostly in China, but the pace is much slower than the spread of the virus.
Recovery takes two weeks or so for mild cases but can be up to six weeks for those that turn serious, according to the World Health Organisation.
Yesterday it was revealed that Italy’s fatalities had overtaken China’s. The country reported 427 deaths in 24 hours.
Italy, with 60million citizens, has recorded 3,405 deaths, exceeding the 3,248 in China, a country with a population with more than 20 times larger.
Italy’s caseload of 41,000 is more than half of China’s as well and more than 15 per cent of the global total.
Though the illness is mild in most people, the elderly are particularly susceptible to serious symptoms. Italy has the world’s second-oldest population, and the vast majority of its dead – 87 per cent – were over 70.
Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit, a virologist at Germany’s Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, offered another reason for Italy’s high death rate: ‘That’s what happens when the health system collapses.’
Terrifying footage has emerged of desperate Italian medics at the coronavirus epicentre trying to save COVID-19 patients.
A shocking Sky News report showed the hectic scenes inside the Papa Giovanni XXII hospital in the crisis-hit area of Bergamo in Lombardy.
Staff told how all their efforts ‘are not enough’ amid scenes of people gasping for air while holding onto their chests.
Countries are trying to prevent that from happening by slowing the virus and increasing their medical capacity.
In the US, where deaths have reached at least 205, and infections climbed past 14,000, the army was planning to deploy two hospitals, probably to Seattle, Washington, and New York City.
Washington state has the highest death toll, 74, and New York City is rapidly becoming a US epicentre, with more than 4,000 cases.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state needs to acquire thousands of ventilators, which would help the critically ill breathe, before the outbreak overwhelms hospitals.
‘Every state is shopping for ventilators. We’re shopping for ventilators. We literally have people in China shopping for ventilators which is one of the largest manufacturers. So this is a major problem,’ he said.
The UK, where 141 deaths have been reported so far, is scrambling to produce thousands of ventilators to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
Half a dozen top companies have already produced a prototype which is said to be ready for use in hospitals by the end of next week, Matt Hancock, the health minister, told the BB
The UK has recorded 3,269 positive cases so far, and officials have warned NHS staff they will come under ‘extreme pressure’ moving forward.
Meanwhile, in Spain, there have been more than 18,000 cases and 833 death reported. Germany is not far behind with 15,300 cases and 44 deaths.
The virus has infected at least one European head of state: Monaco’s 62-year-old Prince Albert, who continued to work from his office.
He joins several public officials in Iran, Brazil, Australia and other countries who have the illness.
Countries are imposing ever-stricter border controls and lockdowns to keep people at home and keep away outsiders, hoping to slow the spread of the virus while preparing for an onslaught of sick patients.
World leaders have warned of ‘record’ economic pain as the coronavirus pandemic worsens every day.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of a looming global recession ‘perhaps of record dimensions’.
Iran accused the US of helping to spread the virus by retaining sanctions that prevent it importing desperately needed medicine and medical equipment.
Iran’s 1,200 deaths are exceeded only by those in Italy and China, and fears remain that its reported cases – 18,400 – have been underported.
Iran’s UN Mission said the sanctions, imposed over the country’s nuclear programme, were making it virtually impossible for the country to import what it needs to fight the virus.
‘In other words, while the US is trying to curb the virus internally, it is helping the spread of the virus externally,’ it said in a statement.
In California, Governor Gavin Newsom said that if strong action was not taken, 56 per cent of the state’s 40million residents could contract the virus over the next eight weeks.
He expanded restrictions on non-essential movement outside homes, saying it was necessary to control the spread of the virus, which is threatening to overwhelm California’s medical system.
Similar restrictions are in place in virus hotspots like Italy, Spain and central China.
China is seeing signs that its restrictive lockdowns and hastily built hospitals have worked.
The epicentre of its outbreak, the city of Wuhan, had no new infections for a second day on Friday, the country’s health ministry said. All 39 new cases recorded nationally were from abroad.
In a measure of how the fortunes of East and West have shifted, a Chinese Red Cross official heading a delegation to Milan openly castigated Italians for failing to take the national lockdown seriously.
Sun Shuopeng said he was shocked to see so many people walking around, using public transport and eating out in hotels.
‘Right now we need to stop all economic activity, and we need to stop the mobility of people,’ he said. ‘All people should be staying at home in quarantine.’
The British Government, criticised as slow to react to the virus, shifted gear and drew up legislation giving itself new powers to detain people and restrict gatherings. The Bill is expected to be approved by Parliament next week.
The US State Department, meanwhile, warned Americans in the strongest terms yet not to travel abroad under any circumstances.
US governors and mayors sounded increasingly alarmed and took ever more drastic measures to fend off the crisis.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ordered the closure of all ‘non life-sustaining’ businesses in the state, with exceptions for petrol stations, grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurant takeaway services, and warned that violators could be subject to fines or imprisonment.
In a video conference with President Donald Trump, governors complained they were having difficulty obtaining such things as swabs and protective gear for doctors and nurses.
The US Army prepared mobile military hospitals for deployment in major cities, and motorists waited in long queues for nurses to swab their nostrils at new US drive-through testing sites.
Damage to the world’s largest economy kept increasing, with the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits surging by 70,000 last week.
Congress is weighing a proposed trillion-dollar emergency package which would dispense relief cheques to households in as many as two rounds, the first of which would consist of payments of 1,000 dollars per adult and 500 dollars for each child.
And New York Mayor Bill de Blasio lashed out at Mr Trump as ‘the Herbert Hoover of your generation’, referring to the man who was president when the stock market crashed in 1929 and the Depression set in.
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