US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The new coronavirus continues its cruel race at an “almost exponential” speed on Thursday, having already officially infected nearly a million people and claimed more than 47,000 lives around the world, including that of a baby weeks in the United States.
More than 500,000 cases have been identified in Europe, the continent most affected, but it is the United States (215,000 cases) which are emerging as the new epicenter of the pandemic. In the absence of sufficient screening capacities, these assessments are very probably far from reality.
The scale of the crisis does not obscure all individual tragedies. The death of a newborn baby in the state of Connecticut has thus particularly struck the spirits, the children being so far relatively spared. “It’s heartbreaking,” said Ned Lamont, governor of the northeastern state.
“We are going through two very very painful weeks,” said Donald Trump at a press conference, in a serious tone.
According to White House projections, the Covid-19 is expected to kill 100,000 to 240,000 people in the United States.
“Deeply concerned”, the Secretary General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus could only note the “almost exponential growth” in the number of cases.
Despite containment measures which affect nearly one inhabitant of the planet on two, the balance sheets are getting heavier: more than 13,000 dead in Italy, 10,000 in Spain, more than 5,000 in the United States, 4,000 in France …
– New record in Spain –
These four countries have exceeded the official death toll reported for mainland China (3,318), where the epidemic has broken out.
But Chinese figures raise suspicion: the United States has thus come to the conclusion that Beijing has lied by largely undervaluing it, according to a co-confidential report of American intelligence mentioned by several parliamentarians.
“China has been hiding the severity of this virus for months,” said a member of the House of Representatives, William Timmons. “The world is now paying for (its) mistakes”.
“The actions and behavior of some American politicians are shameful and devoid of all morals,” reacted Beijing, saying that the WHO was defending the Chinese data.
Beijing is in the middle of another controversy Thursday, after giving the green light to a drug based on bear bile to treat patients victims of Covid-19. The controversy over the treatment of plantigrades raised in narrow cages where their abdomen is punctured by a catheter connected to their vesicle in order to remove the bile.
In Europe, the pandemic has caused the death of more than 1,000 people in Belgium. The number of deaths has doubled in the space of three days, in particular due to the delayed accounting of deaths in retirement homes.
But it was Spain which again deplored Thursday the heaviest losses with 950 deaths in 24 hours, a new record in the country. Spanish intensive care units are already stretched to the limit.
“There is not enough protective equipment” and “the number of beds remains insufficient,” lamented Guillén del Barrio, a nurse in Madrid, even if the increase in the number of new cases continues to slow.
– Choose between economy and health –
The country also registered in March more than 300,000 new job seekers, due to the “extraordinary impact” of the health crisis, announced the Spanish Ministry of Labor.
In Italy, doctors worry about convalescents, who leave the hospital as soon as their life is no longer threatened, even if they are still contagious.
“In a war like this, we cannot allow ourselves to be exposed to the appearance of new centers of contagion which risk transforming these convalescent centers into” viral bombs “which spread the virus”, warned Raffaele Antonelli Incalzi, President of the Italian Geriatrics Society.
The Italian government is also under pressure to lift containment measures and revive an idle economy.
“It is horrible to have to choose between putting the economy on standby or endangering the lives of many people”, observes the American expert Paul Romer, quoted by the daily Il Fatto Quotidiano.
The government needs a “credible plan to end containment very quickly, while ensuring the safety of employees even if the virus is still present,” added the co-winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics.
The European Commission proposed Thursday to create an instrument to guarantee up to 100 billion euros the national employment support plans put in place due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Even before this announcement, European markets, after having suffered losses of around 3% to 4% the day before, regained some calm on Thursday, helped in particular by the strong rebound in oil prices. Paris thus took 0.50% in the first exchanges, Frankfurt 0.15% and London 0.44%.
– Irresponsible behavior –
Lack of vaccine or treatment, to curb the spread of the pandemic, containment remains the most effective means of control and the American State of Florida, Eritrea or Sierra Leone joined them in turn on Wednesday, while Germany, Italy or Portugal extended its duration.
More than 3.75 billion people (48% of the world population) are thus called to stay at home or forced to do so.
A real challenge in poor countries, which did not prevent Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte from Thursday asking the police to kill anyone causing “unrest” in the areas under confinement.
But confinement leaves certain categories of population on the front line, such as supermarket employees who remain open.
“We are afraid of bringing something home,” said AFP, on condition of anonymity, Piera, part-time cashier in a supermarket in Novara, a city west of Milan where a vigilante died of the virus in 33 years old last week.
What shocks her the most is the irresponsible behavior of certain customers who come with family, get too close to employees … not to mention those who moisten their fingers to count their tickets.
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The article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by Ordo News staff in our US newsroom press.