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Worldwide cases top 1 million as six-week-old dies from Covid-19 in the US

Half the planet is under some form of lockdown as governments struggle to tackle the virus.

A field hospital was set up in Central Park.
A field hospital was set up in Central Park.

Updated Apr 2nd 2020, 10:14 PM

THERE ARE MORE than one million declared cases of coronavirus worldwide.

According to a tally by AFP, it reached this number at 7pm GMT (8pm Irish time).

At least 1,000,036 infections have been recorded across 188 countries, including 51,718 deaths, according to an AFP calculation based on official country data and World Health Organization figures.

A total 234,462 infections and 5,607 deaths were reported in the US, where Covid-19 is currently spreading the most rapidly. Earlier today, it was confirmed that a six-week-old baby in the US who had died later tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus.

In Italy, the hardest-hit country in terms of the number of deaths, there were 115,242 reported cases and 13,915 deaths. Spain reported 110,238 cases and 10,003 deaths, and China – where the coronavirus first emerged late last year – reported 81,589 infections and 3,318 deaths.

The number of actual infections is believed to be higher since many countries are only testing severe cases or patients requiring hospitalisation.

Half the planet is under some form of lockdown as governments struggle to tackle the virus which 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.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has said 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.”

The six-week-old baby who died in the US had been treated in 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.”

Britain and France both reported their highest daily death tolls from COVID-19 yesterday, 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.

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.

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.

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