Cases of the novel coronavirus have surpassed 1.3 million and spread to at least 184 countries and regions, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.
The virus, which was first reported in Wuhan, China, has killed nearly 76,000, while more than 289,000 have recovered from infection. The U.S. continues to claim the highest number of cases in the world but the pandemic has yet to reach its peak in the country. Italy and Spain have continued to show signs of the outbreak slowing down, including declines in daily death tolls and new cases on Monday.
The outbreak has seen several nations impose lockdowns, travel restrictions and other precautionary measures in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. Nearly 90 percent of the world’s students, which equates to around 1.5 billion children and young people, have been affected by nationwide school closures, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing last week: “The best way for countries to end restrictions and ease their economic effects is to attack the virus, with the aggressive and comprehensive package of measures that we have spoken about many times before: find, test, isolate and treat every case, and trace every contact.”
China reports no new deaths
On Tuesday, China reported no new deaths for the first time since January, when the country began publishing figures, marking another milestone in its road to recovery.
- The country saw a decline in cases on Monday with 32 new infections, a drop from 39 on Sunday, China’s National Health Commission confirmed.
- All 32 of the recent confirmed infections were imported cases, compared with 38 imported cases a day earlier. There are currently 983 imported cases in China.
- The country also reported 30 new asymptomatic cases, 18 of which are in the Hubei province, where Wuhan is located.
- There are currently 1,033 asymptomatic patients under observation, as of Monday.
Wuhan has seen two new cases in the past 14 days and its daily death toll began dropping to a single-digit figure in late March.
Wuhan will be lifting travel restrictions on Wednesday, following a strict two-month lockdown from January 23 in the wake of the outbreak. Outbound travel restrictions in Hubei were lifted last month.
Over 82,600 cases have been reported in China to date but more than 77,400 (around 93 percent of the confirmed infected population) have recovered. With more cases reported outside China than within, the outbreak appears to now be largely contained.
China recently closed its borders to all foreign nationals (including those with valid visas and residence permits, but not those traveling from Hong Kong or Macau) in a bid to reduce the number of imported cases. It also began testing all international arrivals for the virus from this month.
Nearly 20,000 recovered in the U.S.
While the death toll in the U.S. has surpassed 10,000, over 19,900 have recovered in the country, more than double the number in South Korea.
Last month, the first vaccine trial in the U.S. was launched at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute. The vaccine uses a segment of the virus’ genetic code rather than a piece of the virus, which scientists hope should make it faster to develop.
The U.S. remains the epicenter of the outbreak, with more than 368,400 cases as of Monday. The official figure for the number of recoveries has yet to be released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Speaking to Newsweek, a spokesperson for the CDC previously said it does not “have the current numbers for recovered patients at this time, and CDC has not included this data in our ongoing case counts as of yet” but the CDC “may put it [the data on recoveries] together in the future.”
Hospitals across the country continue to struggle with the growing number of patients. New York, has the highest number of confirmed infections (at least 130,689 cases) and nearly a third of the country’s total number of cases, according to the latest figures Monday confirmed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
New deaths in Spain, new cases in Italy drop, France sees highest daily death toll
Signs of the outbreak slowing down in Italy and Spain continue to emerge, while France reported a new record daily death count.
- The death toll in Spain, which currently has the second-highest number of cases and deaths in the world, has dropped for the fourth successive day, Spain’s Ministry of Health confirmed Monday.
- Spain reported 637 new fatalities, a decline from Sunday’s count of 674 deaths. The latest figure is the lowest daily death count in nearly two weeks and is a significant drop from the record 950 daily deaths reported last Thursday.
- France saw 833 more deaths on Monday, its largest daily death toll since the outbreak began, the French Minister of Solidarity and Health, Olivier Véran, confirmed.
- The minister also noted 478 more people had gone into intensive care in France over the last 24 hours, which was higher than previous days. However, more patients were also reported to be leaving intensive care.
- France also reported the number of people an average infected person infects was also dropping.
The growth rate of the outbreak in Spain was said to be slowing down “in almost every region,” according to a spokesperson for the country’s Coordination Centre for Health Alerts and Emergencies, María José Sierra.
Spain is expected to extend its coronavirus testing to those without symptoms. “It is important to know who is contaminated to be able to gradually lift Spanish citizens’ lockdown,” Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Arancha González said.
Silvio Brusaferro, head of Italy’s Istituto Superiore di Sanità (the scientific body of Italy’s National Health Institute), said: “The curve [of the outbreak] has reached a plateau and begun to descend.”
“It is a result that we have to achieve day after day. If this is confirmed, we need to start thinking about the second phase and keep down the spread of this disease,” he added.
Véran told reporters: “We have not reached the end of the ascent of this epidemic.”
“It [the fight against the outbreak] is not over. Far from that. The path is long. The figures that I have announced show this,” he said. “Stay at home and continue this confinement effort,” he added.
U.K. Prime Minister remains in intensive care
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who tested positive for the virus last month, has been transferred to an intensive care unit at a London hospital where he is receiving “excellent care,” a statement from the 10 Downing Street office confirmed on Monday.
- The U.K. has reported over 52,300 cases, including at least 5,373 deaths as of Monday, the U.K. Department of Health confirmed.
- The country recorded its second consecutive drop in daily deaths and its lowest daily death toll since nearly a week ago, when 381 fatalities were reported on March 31.
- The daily death toll on Monday was at 439, falling by nearly a third from 621 new deaths reported on Sunday and dropping further from 708 new deaths on Saturday, the department confirmed.
Johnson has been receiving care at St Thomas’ Hospital in London since Sunday evening following “persistent symptoms of coronavirus,” the statement confirms.
“Over the course of this afternoon [Monday], the condition of the Prime Minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital,” the statement said.
“The PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, to deputize for him where necessary,” the statement adds.
Johnson did not require a ventilator, the British Minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Gove, told Britain’s Today program on Tuesday.
But Johnson did need four liters of oxygen in intensive care, hospital officials confirmed. The typical threshold for intensive care is said to be 15 liters, the Times in London reports.
The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the spread of COVID-19 across the globe.
Data on COVID-19 cases is from Johns Hopkins University unless otherwise stated.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19
- CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
- Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
- Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
- Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.
World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
- Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.
- Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
- Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
- If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
- Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
- Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.
Mask and glove usage
- Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
- Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
- Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
- Do not reuse single-use masks.
- Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
- The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.