U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Surpass China
- Italy, Spain, and the U.S. have surpassed China in coronavirus cases and deaths.
- Ford and General Electric team up in a race to build tens of thousands of ventilators.
- The UK’s temporary Nightingale Hospital will accept patients this week.
- Austria requires all residents to wear face masks when they shop for groceries.
The global death toll has now surpassed 38,000 with 4,000 deaths in the last 24 hours. Spain, Italy, and the United States now have more cases and coronavirus deaths than China.
Spain Surpasses China’s Coronavirus Cases
Spain has surpassed China in confirmed coronavirus cases as the country reported a record 913 deaths over the last 24 hours. Health workers account for nearly 14 percent of the country’s 88,000 cases. Spain’s health emergency chief Fernando Simon also tested positive for the virus. Spain has imposed stricter lockdown measures, keeping all non-essential workers home for another two weeks. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said that the tighter lockdown was needed to avoid the collapse of saturated hospitals in Madrid and a few other regions of the country.
New coronavirus cases in Italy are starting to slow as the number of daily deaths has dropped every day over the weekend from a peak of nearly 1,000. It’s almost certain that Italy’s April 3rd deadline of the national lockdown will be extended.
U.S. Reports Over 500 Deaths In One Day
Yesterday was the first day that the U.S. reported more than 500 coronavirus deaths in one day. The country now has more coronavirus fatalities than China with nearly half of the deaths are from New York.
Dr. Deborah Birx, member of the White House coronavirus task force, says that no state and no metro area will be spared by the outbreak. She predicts the country could record up to 200,000 coronavirus deaths. Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. have also issued stay-at-home orders. Roughly three out of four Americans are under instructions to stay indoors.
Ventilators Won’t Come Soon Enough
Ford and General Electric are teaming up to build tens of thousands of ventilators. Ford said it expects to produce 1,500 ventilators by the end of April. Ford and GE said they have a partnership to build a simplified version of an existing ventilator, estimating they can produce 50,000 in 100 days starting from April 20th. The companies would ramp up production to meet a target of 30,000 ventilators a month after that.
However, health experts say the surge in U.S. hospitals will be greatest in April, well before thousands of ventilators can be produced, resulting in a shortage for COVID-19 patients. The U.S. holds more than 165k confirmed cases.
The UK Builds 4,000 Bed Hospital
There are currently more than 9,000 coronavirus patients in hospitals across England, occupying roughly 1 in 10 beds. It’s estimated that 1 in 4 doctors in the country is either out sick or self-isolating. Over the last two weeks, the country has been building out the Nightingale Hospital, a temporary facility at the excel convention center in east London, one of the nation’s hotspots.
The facility will begin accepting patients this week with capacity for 500 and will eventually expand to 4,000 beds, making it the largest hospital in the world. Temporary hospitals will also be set up in Bridlington, Manchester, and Glasgow.
The UK government suspects China has spread disinformation and lied about the number of coronavirus cases. Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove says some of the reporting from China was not clear about the scale and nature of the virus.
Scientists have reportedly told Boris Johnson that China could have up to 40 times the number of cases it says. Estimates from Radio Free Asia show that up to 42,000 bodies have been cremated in Wuhan since the crisis began.
EasyJet Cancels All Flights
EasyJet, one of the UK’s leading budget airlines, announced they are grounding all flights due to travel restrictions imposed by governments. The airline said all scheduled flights have been canceled from here on out and cannot give a date for when flights will restart.
EasyJet has been running rescue flights to retrieve Britons stranded abroad and will continue to work with government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested. Any passengers that had a flight booked with EasyJet are entitled to a full refund, however, EasyJet is encouraging vouchers to rebook flights at a later date. To receive a refund, passengers will have to do it over the phone, according to EasyJet.
Austria Requires Residents To Wear Face Masks
Starting this week, Austria is requiring all residents to wear face masks when they shop for groceries. Facemasks for the public have been a controversial topic as the WHO suggests masks should only be worn by people who are sick or are caring for someone who is infected. Other experts and government officials suggest the contrary, saying they could offer some protection.
The short supply of N-95 masks has lead officials to discourage hoarding and panic-buying as front-line workers need them most. Places that have adopted universal mask-wearing and intensive social distancing early on such as Hong Kong, have been able to contain the outbreak. George Gao, the director-general of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has called not wearing face masks a “big mistake in the U.S. and Europe.”
Mexico Declares Health Emergency
Mexico’s secretary of foreign affairs, Marcelo Ebrard, has declared a health emergency for the entire country as it prepares to battle the outbreak. Deputy health minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell announced an immediate suspension of all non-essential activities including all public, private, and social sectors from now until April 30th. There are now more than 1,000 confirmed cases and 28 fatalities in the country.