Over 1 million people infected worldwide, with US accounting for more than 230,000
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases worldwide exceeded 1 million on Thursday, with the US accounting for more than a fifth of the total. The global fatality rate has now risen above 5% of all reported cases, with the UK, the US and Spain among countries reporting a spike in fatalities in recent days.
As deaths from the virus passed 51,000 globally, despite almost half of humanity living in some form of lockdown, teaching hospitals from Sweden to Italy said that unless countries cooperated to ensure a steady supply, the critically ill would soon be deprived of essential medicines.
Hospitals needed protective gear and ventilators but also drugs to treat intensive care patients, the European University Hospital Alliance said in a letter to governments. Stocks of muscle relaxants, sedatives and painkillers were likely to run out in two days at the hardest-hit hospitals and in two weeks at others, they said.
Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force’s response coordinator, warned on Tuesday that the US was likely entering the most challenging two-week period in terms of new cases and deaths. as the contagion had begun spreading widely in New York City, an epicentre of the outbreak, and other metropolitan areas across the nation before strict stay-at-home orders were put into place.
The US, with more known cases of the coronavirus than any other nation, has over 230,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases and more than 5,600 deaths attributable to the illness, according to the Johns Hopkins numbers.
Also on Thursday, the US Labour Department released record-breaking jobless numbers for the second consecutive week. First-time unemployment claims doubled to 6.6 million from 3.3 million the previous week – or roughly 10 million jobs lost in two weeks.