Japan Distributes Masks To Its 50 Million Households

The latest in COVID-19

Created with Sketch.

Japan Distributes Masks To Its 50 Million Households

Quick Take

  • Florida and Georgia issue a 30-day stay-at-home order effective Friday.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom warns the state is on track to run out of hospital beds by mid-May.
  • Japan sends two reusable cloth masks to each of the country’s 50 million households.
  • The United Nations postpones a climate change conference scheduled for November. 
  • World-renowned HIV/AIDS researcher Gita Ramjee dies at the age of 50 from COVID-19 complications.

Global confirmed coronavirus cases are topping 1 million with more than 47,000 deaths. The U.S. reported a record 1,046 deaths in the last 24 hours, making it the third hardest hit country just ahead of Italy and Spain.

Florida Issues Stay-At-Home Order 

Florida is now the latest state to issue a 30-day stay-at-home order effective Friday, keeping nearly 21 million residents indoors with the exception of essential services. Florida’s Gov. faced heavy criticism from lawmakers for refusing to enact such an order until this week. Controversially, the order did not discourage againts attending religious services even though places of worship have become virus outbreak hotspots. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has surpassed 7,000 in the state, including at least 85 deaths.

Georgia also announced plans issue a statewide shelter-in-place order and the cancellation of K-12 schools starting Friday. Only five states remain without a stay-at-home order, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Oklahoma.

California Cancels Academic School Year

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state is on track to run out of hospital beds by mid-May. Mark Ghaly, the state’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, says that without stay-at-home orders, the number of infected individuals would lead to a need for 700,000 hospital beds. The state hopes to increase statewide hospital capacity to up to 125,000, but Newsom still warned that capacity will be exceeded in about six weeks.

California currently has 1,855 hospitalized coronavirus patients, 774 of which are in intensive care. About 34,000 people applied to join the new California Health Corps, an initiative to boost the state’s health-care workforce by recruiting retired health-care professionals and medical students. More than 35 million N-95 masks have been distributed to hospitals in the state.

Newsom also announced that schools will not reopen for the remaining of the school year. The state has partnered with Google to provide 100,000 points of access to improve wifi and broadband access for students. The California Gov. said an executive order would be coming in the next day or so related to child-care needs.

Another Newborn Does From Coronavirus

A 6-week-old baby in Connecticut has become the latest infant to die from coronavirus. The newborn died after unsuccessful attempts for resuscitation at a hospital. Last week, a baby in Chicago became the first coronavirus related death of an infant reported in the country. In Connecticut, there have been 3,557 reported cases and 85 coronavirus deaths.

Japan Distributes Masks To Citizens

After a rise in cases, the Japanese government will send two reusable cloth masks to the country’s 50 million households. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the mask distribution will begin next week and will start with areas hardest hit by the virus. 

The masks will be washable so that people can reuse them and lessen the demand for personal protective equipment amid shortages in supplies. The move comes as the WHO suggests that only health-care providers and those sick with the disease wear a face mask. However, in light of recent studies suggesting that people who are asymptomatic are still significant transmitters of the disease, several countries such as Czech Republic and Austria have adopted mandatory public mask-wearing policies.

U.N. Cancels Global Climate Conference

The United Nations has announced plans to postpone a climate conference scheduled for November. The gathering, scheduled to be hosted in the UK, was envisioned as a moment for nations to offer more ambitious plans to reduce carbon emissions. The arena where the massive event was to take place, the SEC Centre, is currently being converted into a field hospital for COVID-19 patients.

UK Reports Its Deadliest Day

The UK has reported its deadliest day with 563 faitalities in the last 24 hours. Britain locked down the country last week in an attempt to combat the virus, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who himself tested positive, warned that things would get worse before getting better. The virus has also hit the royal family, with Prince Charles only coming out of isolation on Tuesday after displaying mild symptoms. The UK now has 2,352 deaths and more than 30,000 confirmed cases.

Train Transports France’s Coronavirus Patients

France has repurposed its high-speed TGV trains, normally used to take travellers and tourists around the country, to transport coronavirus patients from the country’s heavily impacted east hospitals to the west. The trains are set up like emergency rooms equipped with ventilators, oxygen, and medical staff. A French army Airbus plane has also evacuated several patients to other hospitals in the country.