Global virus cases near million as US baby dies
1 hr ago
a close up of a map: There are signs the epidemic could be peaking in Europe
1/3 SLIDES John SAEKI
There are signs the epidemic could be peaking in Europe
2/3 SLIDES Johannes EISELE
More than three-quarters of Americans are under lockdown, including tens of thousands of federal prisoners
3/3 SLIDES Ben STANSALL
The pandemic claimed its latest sporting victim as the Wimbledon tennis tournament was shelved
Confirmed coronavirus infections around the world approached one million Thursday as the pandemic spread at a "near-exponential" rate, with a six-week-old baby becoming one of the youngest known victims.
Half the planet is under some form of lockdown as governments struggle to tamp down a virus that has killed tens of thousands of people.
Those restrictions -- while necessary for health -- risk causing global food shortages, experts have warned, as supply chains gum up and panic buying sparks export controls.
The death toll from COVID-19 continued its relentless march upwards, with more than 46,000 people known to have died worldwide.
The United States, which now accounts for almost a quarter of reported global infections, logged its 5,000th death overnight, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
And, said President Donald Trump, things were going to get worse.
"We're going to have a couple of weeks, starting pretty much now, but especially a few days from now, that are going to be horrific," he said.
"But even in the most challenging of times, Americans do not despair. We do not give in to fear."
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Among the latest US fatalities was a six-week-old baby who was taken to a Connecticut hospital late last week.
"Testing confirmed last night that the newborn was COVID-19 positive," the state's Governor Ned Lamont tweeted. "This is absolutely heartbreaking."
The new coronavirus has chiefly affected the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions, but a number of recent cases have highlighted that it can affect people from all walks of life.
The dead have included a 13-year-old in France, a 12-year-old in Belgium and 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdullah in Britain, whose family said the "gentle and kind" boy had no underlying health issues.
World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the disease's rapid spread was alarming.
"Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new cases, reaching almost every country," he said.
"The number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week. In the next few days we will reach one million confirmed cases and 50,000 deaths."
- Spanish peak? -
Britain and France both reported their highest daily death tolls from COVID-19 on Wednesday, although there were signs the epidemic could be peaking in Europe.
Italy's toll -- the highest in the world -- climbed past 13,000, while Spain surpassed 9,000.
But epidemiologists said the infection rate was continuing to slow.
Fernando Simon, head of Spain's health ministry's emergency coordination unit, said it appeared the country may have passed the peak.
The US is rapidly becoming the worst hit country, with its total number of infections rising above 215,000.
More than three-quarters of Americans are under lockdown, including tens of thousands of prisoners, who were told Wednesday they would be confined to their cells for two weeks.
Officials also shuttered the Grand Canyon to prevent tourists gathering there and New York announced that basketball courts would be closed as the city grapples with sky-rocketing infections and a severely strained health system.
America's unwanted title as most-infected country was questioned Wednesday by a Bloomberg report, which cited US intelligence as saying China's infection rate was far worse than officially acknowledged.
China says it has around 81,000 infections, and 3,300 deaths.
Republicans, many of whom are naturally skeptical of Beijing, attacked China's numbers as "garbage propaganda".
"Without commenting on any classified information, this much is painfully obvious: The Chinese Communist Party has lied, is lying, and will continue to lie about coronavirus to protect the regime," Senator Ben Sasse said.
- Sporting victim -
Having already caused the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to be postponed for a year, the pandemic on Wednesday claimed its latest sporting victim as the Wimbledon tennis tournament was shelved.
The cancellation of the world's oldest Grand Slam tournament -- for the first time since World War II -- leaves the season in disarray, with no tennis set to be played until mid-July.
Roger Federer proclaimed himself "devastated" by the news, while Serena Williams said: "I'm shooked".
But the loss of sporting events in the developed world paled in comparison with the hardships imposed on those in poorer parts of the globe, where lockdowns were threatening whole communities.
Slide 1 of 50: Jason Baird is seen dressed as Spiderman during his daily exercise to cheer up local children in Stockport, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Stockport, Britain, April 1, 2020.
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The world is battling the COVID-19 outbreak that the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic.
(Pictured) Jason Baird is seen dressed as Spiderman during his daily exercise to cheer up local children in Stockport, England as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, on April 1.
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A woman jogs over the Sydney Harbour Bridge at sunrise in Australia on April 2 amid government's strict social distancing and socialization measures as they try to contain the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.
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President Donald Trump addresses the daily coronavirus response briefing as National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, Attorney General William Barr, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley listen at the White House in Washington, on April 1.
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A woman, wearing a protective face mask as a precaution against the new coronavirus, rides in a public cable car in Bogota, Colombia, on April 1, during a countrywide lockdown as it seeks to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.
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Medical staff, wearing protective suits and face masks, work at the intensive care unit for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients at Ambroise Pare clinic in Neuilly-sur-Seine near Paris, as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues in France, on April 1.
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Closed playgrounds are seen as local precautionary measures are implemented to slow down the spread of Covid-19 in Stamford, Connecticut on April 1.
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A vendor prepares a stall in a market at Tepito neighborhood after Mexico's government declared a health emergency and issued stricter rules to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Mexico City, on April 1.
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A man takes a picture near a cherry blossom trees street, closed to avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Seoul, South Korea, April 1, 2020.
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Members of the Michigan National Guard set up hospital beds as the Detroit TCF convention center is converted into a field hospital amid an outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Detroit, Michigan,on April 1.
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Members of local hygiene services wear a protective suit and face masks, as they disinfect a health centre to stop the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dakar, Senegal on April 1.
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Well-wishers and friends gather on the street outside the home of former U.S. Marine nurse Ruth Gallivan to help celebrate her 104th birthday during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in San Diego, California,on April 1.
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A specialist wearing protective gear sprays disinfectant on a street installation in Stavropol, Russia on April 1.
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People stand on lines drawn to maintain safe distance as they wait to receive free food being distributed by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) during a 21-day nationwide lockdown in Chennai, India on April 1.
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A municipality worker in a protective suit sprays a disinfectant along the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic on April 1.
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People visit the Big Buddha in Kotoku-in Temple of Kamakura, near Tokyo, Japan on April 1.
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A view of one of the main pedestrian streets closed to public access in the center of Mexico City, Mexico on April 1, 2020.
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The Eleftherios Venizelos passenger ship is anchored after authorities found 20 coronavirus cases onboard and placed the ship under quarantine near the island of Salamina, Greece on April 1, 2020.
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Rainbow messages of support and thanks are seen attached to school railings at Isleworth Town school in London, England on April 1.
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Workers wearing protective suits pray before a disinfection operation, during the movement control order due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on April 1.
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Workers stitches protective face masks used to curb the spread of the coronavirus at a former clothing factory in Kabul, Afghanistan on April 1.
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Buddhist monks wear face shields amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 as they collect alms on April 1, in Bangkok, Thailand.
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The seafront Malecon is pictured next to an almost empty road at noon in Havana, Cuba on March 31.
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Workers use sewing machines to manufacture protective suits at a garment factory during the lockdown imposed by the government amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus in Dhaka, Bangladesh on March 31.
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Mountain goats roam the streets of LLandudno on March 31 in Wales. The goats normally live on the rocky Great Orme but are occasional visitors to the seaside town, but a local Councillor told the BBC that the herd was drawn this time by the lack of people and tourists due to the COVID-19 outbreak and quarantine measures.
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Palestinian artist Ameer Abu Ghalioon plays music dressed as a clown under the windows of Palestinian families keeping the confinement in the divided West bank town of Hebron on March 31, during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
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Flowers hang at the entrance to a residence home for the elderly where some residents died of COVID-19 in Madrid, Spain, on March 31.
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A healthcare worker visits an emergency field hospital in Central Park during the outbreak of the coronavirus in New York City on March 31.
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A police officer wearing a protective mask walks across Red Square, after the city authorities announced a partial lockdown ordering residents to stay at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease during snowfall in Moscow, Russia on March 31.
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Neighbors line up for free food staples outside Santa Ana primary school in Asuncion, Paraguay, on March 31, as part of an already existing food program through the Education Ministry, as people stay home from work amid the spread of the new coronavirus.
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Crew members are seen as the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship enters the harbor where South African crew members are to alight after having tested negative for the coronavirus diseasein Durban, South Africa on March 31.
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A yard sign reminds neighbors about good social distancing practices on March 31, in Lakewood, Colorado.
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A woman takes photographs of the Tokyo Olympic Games countdown clock, which has been restarted in front of the JR Tokyo Station on March 31 in Tokyo, Japan. The Tokyo Olympic Games will be held between July 23 to August 8 in 2021 while the Paralympic Games will be between August 24 and September 5.
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A field hospital is set up by Rio de Janeiro state government next to the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on March 31.
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Fitness coach Sebastien Manko gives a lesson from the street to elderly people attending from the balconies of their retirement home in Bordeaux, France on March 31, as the country is under lockdown.
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People stand on circles marked on the ground to maintain social distancing as they wait to collect a free dry ration from the Saylani Welfare Trust during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown in Quetta, Pakistan on March 31.
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Health officials spray disinfectant in a Kampung Baru, traditional Malay village, in Kuala Lumpur city center as a safety precaution against the new coronavirus, on March 31. The Malaysian government issued a restricted movement order to the public for the rest of the month to help curb the spread of the virus.
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People wearing face masks are practicing social distancing as they wait outside a Postal Savings Bank of China branch on March 31 in Wuhan, Hubei province, the epicenter of China's coronavirus outbreak.
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Residents, wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, practise social distancing as they wait to be tested at a makeshift rapid testing centre near the Bach Mai hospital in Hanoi on March 31.
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A policeman gestures as men wearing protective facemasks walk to board a special service bus taking them to a quarantine facility amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in the Nizamuddin area of New Delhi on March 31.
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The pyramid of Khufu, the largest of the Giza pyramid complex, is illuminated with text encouraging to stay home, as Egypt ramps up its efforts to slow down the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, on March 30.
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A municipal worker wearing protective gear sprays disinfectant on a Public Health Inspector during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 in Colombo on March 31.
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Police officers wearing face masks guard the rear entrance of the Urban Newtown hotel where quarantined Australian travelers who have landed back into Sydney will remain for 14 days on March 31 in Sydney, Australia. Public gatherings are now limited to two people, as the Australian Government introduces tougher restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday told Australians to stay home unless they are shopping for food, receiving medical attention, going to work or education, or for exercise, which is now limited to groups of two. People over 70 have been told to remain inside while public areas such as playgrounds, outside gyms and skateparks will be closed from midday on Monday. International arrivals into Australia are being quarantined in hotels on arrival.
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Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort travels under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge as it heads to Pier 90 as the coronavirus pandemic continues to overwhelm medical infrastructure on March 30 seen from Bayridge, Brooklyn In New York City. Docked at Pier 90 on the West Side of Manhattan the hospital ship will provide another thousand beds for non-COVID-19 patients.
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(Pictured) A man walks his dog past graffiti calling for people to wash their hands to combat the spread of the coronavirus, in Belfast, Northern Ireland on March, 30.
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Residents watch from their balconies South African police and National Defense Forces search a local bar they thought was illegally open in downtown Johannesburg on March 30.
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Hundreds of people sit in their cars watching a movie trailer at a drive-in cinema, as all other theaters are closed due to the coronavirus in Essen, Germany on March 30.
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Israeli police arrest an Ultra Orthodox Jew during protest against government's measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem on March 30.
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Two police officers patrol an unusually empty Red Square in Moscow, Russia on March 30.
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Workers set up a temporary field hospital to treat patients who have COVID-19 inside Pacaembu stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil on March 30.
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A man walks past on a nearly empty street in snowfall during the first weekend after Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike urged Tokyo residents to stay indoors in a bid to keep the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from spreading, at Ameyoko shopping and amusement district in Tokyo, Japan on March 29.
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Dwellers of South Africa's townships say it is simply impossible to stay at home.
"We don't have toilets... we don't have water, so you must go out," said Irene Tsetse, 55, who shares a one-bedroom shack in Khayelitsha township with her son.
The macroeconomic impacts of such measures could be far-reaching, experts warned.
The Food and Agriculture Organization, WHO and World Trade Organization said panic buying could threaten food supplies.
"Uncertainty about food availability can spark a wave of export restrictions, creating a shortage on the global market," they said.