The White House is expected soon to advise Americans living in coronavirus hotspots to wear cloth masks or scarves in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Residents of New York, the outbreak’s epicenter in the US, have been urged to cover their faces in public, but not to use surgical masks. Both the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are reassessing their guidance on face masks.
The coronavirus death toll in the U.S. neared 5,000 early Thursday, according to NBC News’ tally, and there were more than 240,000 confirmed cases. In Spain, which has the world’s third highest confirmed infection rate, the death toll topped 10,000 on Thursday. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order for the entire state after refusing to implement statewide social distancing guidelines, and the mayor of Los Angeles told everyone to start wearing masks.
US president Donald Trump has held a marathon two-hour long press briefing in which he warned America to brace for a ‘very, very painful two weeks’. The White House has projected that the coronavirus pandemic could claim 100,000 to 240,000 US lives, even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained. Trump noted that without his mitigation guidelines, models show the death toll could have reached 2.2 million.
President Donald Trump has said federal coronavirus guidelines such as social distancing will be extended across the US until at least 30 April. He had previously suggested that they could be relaxed as early as Easter, which falls in mid-April. “The highest point of the death rate is likely to hit in two weeks,” Mr Trump said.
The first human trial of a vaccine to protect against pandemic coronavirus has started in the US. The vaccine cannot cause Covid-19 but contains a harmless genetic code copied from the virus that causes the disease. Experts say it will still take many months to know if this vaccine, or others also in research, will work.
France and Spain joined Italy in imposing lockdowns on tens of millions of people, Australia ordered self-isolation of arriving foreigners and other countries extended entry bans as the world sought to contain the spreading coronavirus. Panic buying in Australia, the United States and Britain saw leaders appeal for calm over the virus that has infected over 156,000 people globally and killed more than 5,800.
Donald Trump has said coronavirus testing in the US will soon happen on a large scale as the country looks to slow the spread of COVID-19. It comes after the US, which has more than 1,700 confirmed cases of COVID-19, suspended all flights from mainland Europe to the US for 30 days. The president did not provide any further details on how large-scale testing would take place.
The International Monetary Fund has announced $50bn (£39bn) of support for countries hit by the coronavirus. The organization also warned that the outbreak had already pushed this year’s global economic growth below last year’s levels. The emergency measure came after the virus has spread rapidly outside China to more than 70 countries. This week governments and central banks around the world have taken action to ease the impact of the virus.
The US and Australia have recorded their first deaths from COVID-19 – the disease caused by the coronavirus. In Australia, authorities said a 78-year-old man died in a Perth hospital, and in the US state of Washington a man in his late 50s died. As fears grow of an escalation in the number of US cases, the country is using a federal defense law to boost the production of gloves, masks and gowns.
Italian authorities have announced sweeping closures in the country’s north as they scramble to contain Europe’s biggest outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Italy’s confirmed cases surged from three on Friday morning to more than 200 by Monday. The majority of coronavirus infections are concentrated in mainland China (with more than 77,100 cases), followed by Japan (840) and South Korea (833). Italy’s spike now marks the biggest outbreak outside of Asia.