Deadly virus claims 21,000 lives across the world

World | 26 Mar 2020 4:38 pm

The grim tally of deaths from the new coronavirus that continues to cause unprecedented human suffering and economic devastation across the world, having emerged from Wuhan in China has surpassed 20,000. The global virus pandemic also claimed 1,000 lives in the United States.

Worldwide, the death toll climbed past 21,000, according to a running count kept by Johns Hopkins University, and the U.S. had 1,050 deaths and nearly 70,000 infections.

In a recognition of the scale of the threat, the U.S. Senate late Wednesday passed an unparalleled US$2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems.

The unanimous vote came despite misgivings on both sides about whether it goes too far or not far enough and capped days of difficult negotiations as Washington confronted a national challenge unlike it has ever faced. The 880-page measure is the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history.

Spain’s death toll has risen past 3,400, eclipsing that of mainland China, excluding Wuhan and Hubei, the virus ground zero.

This tally is now second only to that of Italy, which has 7,500. Lidia Perera, a nurse at Madrid’s 1,000-bed Hospital de la Paz, said more workers were desperately needed. “We are collapsing,” Perera said.

The Spanish parliament voted to allow the government extend strict stay-at-home rules and business closings until April 11.

Such measures are becoming increasingly common in the U.S., where New York is the epicenter of the domestic outbreak, accounting for more than 30,000 cases and close to 300 deaths, most of them in New York City.

Public health officials in the city hunted down beds and medical equipment and called for more doctors and nurses for fear the number of sick patients will overwhelm hospitals as has happened in Italy and Spain.

A makeshift morgue was set up outside Bellevue Hospital, and the city’s police, their ranks dwindling as more fall ill, were told to patrol nearly empty streets to enforce social distancing.

 

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