LONDON – The United States and Britain are preparing for what could be one of the bleakest weeks in their memories on Monday when the human and financial numbers of coronavirus outbreaks increase. But new deaths and infections appear to be slowing in Italy, Spain and France, showing that locking and social distance work.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was infected last month, was hospitalized because of what his office described as a preventative measure due to persistent symptoms. Johnson, 55, who has been feverish for days, was the first head of government to be known to suffer from the disease.
“I am excited and staying in touch with my team, because we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe,” he said on Twitter on Monday.
World markets rose after most of Europe saw a glimmer of hope – new deaths and infections seemed to slow down in many of the three hardest hit countries, as well as in the Netherlands and Germany.
Leaders warn, however, that any profit can easily be reversed if people do not continue to comply with strict social distance measures and national lockouts. The market rose about 3% in Paris and Frankfurt, and Tokyo jumped more than 4%.
In Washington, US General Surgery A. Jerome Adams gave a stern warning about the surge in death due to the corona virus faced by this nation.
“This will be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment,” he told “Fox News Sunday.”
More than 9,600 people have died of the virus in the United States, and it leads the world in confirmed infections in more than 337,000.
In New York City, the center of the US pandemic, deaths that are confirmed every day have decreased slightly, along with intensive care and the number of patients who need breathing tubes. But New York Governor Andrew Cuomo warned, “it is too early to say” whether the good news will last.
President Donald Trump suggested the difficult weeks ahead could foretell the turn of the corner.
“We are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel,” Trump claims at the White House briefing.
Louisiana health officials report 68 more deaths related to coronavirus, the state’s biggest jump since the outbreak began. In all, the state where New Orleans houses millions of tourists each year has around 480 reported deaths and more than 13,000 infections.
A report from a federal supervisory agency found that three out of four US hospitals surveyed had treated patients with COVID-19 confirmed or suspected.
So far, Italy still has the highest number of deaths from the corona virus in the world – nearly 16,000 – but the pressure on intensive care units in northern Italy has subsided so that Lombardy will no longer fly patients to other regions.
But Italian parents like Enrico Giacomoni still die alone even after using a breathing machine. Octogenarian families must rely on daily updates from busy doctors.
“He did not expect this,” said his son, Roberto. “He was there hoping things would get better, and all I could do was tell him,‘ Papa, be strong. You will see, this will pass. “
“But his eyes are sad, in the sense he clearly knows,” he added.
In Spain, deaths and infections only dropped again on Monday. The health ministry reported 637 new deaths, the lowest number in 13 days, totaling more than 13,000. The new infections recorded were also the lowest in two weeks.
The emergency room in the Madrid region which was hit 6.6 million returned to normal almost a week after scenes of patients sleeping on the floor and in chairs.
Patients awaiting treatment in the ER-Madrid region fell Monday to 390 cases, one-tenth of last week’s arrival, the local government said. The number of people treated for coronavirus in intensive care has been around 1,500 for five consecutive days.
Transport, Mobility and Urban Affairs Minister Josi Luis Abalos said the figures showed Spain was entering “a new phase of fighting.”
“This new phase does not mean we can disappoint our guard. We assess the steps we need to adopt, “Abalos said.
But the British outbreak went in the opposite direction when the country reported more than 600 deaths on Sunday, outpacing an increase in Italian daily for the second day in a row.
In a speech rarely aired on television, Queen Elizabeth II appealed for Britons to be present at the occasion, acknowledging they faced enormous disruption, sadness and financial difficulties. In the middle of a Sunday night speech, Johnson was hospitalized.
“I hope that in the coming years, everyone will be proud of the way they have responded to this challenge,” said the 93-year-old king. “And those who come after us will say that the British of this generation are as strong as they are.”
Lacking enough to protect against viruses, British doctors and nurses wear glasses from school science classes, hold their breath when close to patients, and repeatedly reuse disposable masks, Dr. Rinesh Parmar, head of the British Doctors Association, told Sky News.
Worldwide, more than 1.2 million people have been confirmed infected and more than 70,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. The actual number is of course much higher, due to limited testing, the nation’s different ways of calculating deaths and deliberately reported by several governments.
This virus is spread by droplets from coughing or sneezing. For most people, the virus causes mild to moderate symptoms such as fever and cough. But for some people, especially older adults and weak people, it can cause pneumonia. More than 263,000 people have recovered worldwide.
No treatment is known, but some drugs have shown hope and patients are rushing to join the study.
The disease has been compounded by a shocking economic pain because all the world’s largest economies have been stalled, with 10 million jobs lost in the United States in the past two weeks alone.
Two weeks ago, Sergio Chavira, a 33-year-old truck driver in New Mexico, posted an ad on Craigslist for other drivers to help him transport crude oil. Now he hasn’t driven his truck for a week.
“Everything is slowing down,” Chavira said. “They give us less cargo to transport every day.”
Austria and the Czech Republic have begun to openly discuss how to ease some crippling restrictions. The Austrian Chancellor said the plan was to leave small shops and park centers reopen next week, limiting the number of customers inside, and the rest on May 1. The Czech government proposes an end to the ban on overseas travel on April 14 and the reopening of small shops.
In Asia, the Japanese prime minister said he would declare a state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures on Tuesday. Infection is soaring in the country with the third largest economy in the world and the oldest population.
The disease appeared in China late last year, and every week seems to bring unpleasant surprises to those who try to fight it. A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive in what is believed to be the first known infection in animals in the US or tigers anywhere.
The director of the zoo, Jim Breheny, said he hoped the findings could contribute to the global fight against the virus.
Hinnant reports from Paris. Associated Press writers around the world contribute.
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