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COVID-19 latest update, March 31: US death toll climbs past 3,500, surpasses China’s official count

Coronavirus Cases Latest Update Today: While 164,435 have recovered from COVID-19, over 37,000 people have died. The number of deaths related to coronavirus in the US has passed 3,000, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
March 31, 2020 10:04:30 am
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Coronavirus Latest Update:  At least 777,286 people around the world are known to have been infected by coronavirus since the outbreak began. While 164,435 have recovered, over 37,000 people have died. The number of deaths related to coronavirus in the US has passed 3,000, according to date from Johns Hopkins University. The US has the highest number of cases in the world, at over 160,000 – just under double the cases in China, where the outbreak began. Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House, said more than 1 million Americans had been tested for the coronavirus, which he called a milestone.

Here are key developments worldwide:

In Europe, Spain sees record 849 deaths but downward trend on track

Once again, Spain hit a new record with 849 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours on Tuesday although health chiefs said the rate of new infections was continuing its downward trend. After Italy, Spain has suffered the world’s second most deadly outbreak which has now claimed 8,189 lives there. The latest figures came a day after the death toll fell slightly, raising hopes the epidemic could be peaking.

US death toll from the virus eclipses China’s official count

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus has climbed past 3,500, eclipsing China’s official count.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported Tuesday that deaths in New York state had risen more than 300 from the day before, reaching about 1,550, mostly in New York City. That puts the U.S. ahead of China’s official death toll of about 3,300.

These groups are among the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic

Tens of millions of Americans fit that description – the poor, the homeless, immigrants, the detained and incarcerated, the precariously employed and the uninsured. Nearly one-quarter of adult Americans do not have access to medical benefits, paid sick leave or access to medical care.

Already, the virus has revealed the faults, cracks and inequities in the U.S. health care system. As scholars in humanitarianaid, we’re keenly attuned to these inequities. Here’s a look at the challenges the U.S. faces to protect the health of everyone in our communities.

1. Mental health

Approximately 20% of U.S. adults have a mental health condition. More than 4 million endure serious mental illness. COVID-19 has the potential to make things much worse; isolation exacerbates depression and anxiety. Those with mental health issues who are self-isolating may find it difficult to get proper medication and therapy. As a result, some may turn to alcohol or drugs to self-medicate. Not only does this hurt the individual, it greatly increases the risk of violence in the home.

2. Domestic violence

Intimate partner violence, pervasive in the U.S., touches 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men. Studies suggest that a crisis only increases its incidence and severity. Often, the increases last well beyond the crisis. In China, there’s evidence that intimate partner violence went up when COVID-19 forced people to stay at home.

Then there’s an added risk factor: guns. COVID-19 brought with it a jump in the number of gun purchases. Studies show gun ownership is a key factor in deadly domestic violence; the risk of homicide goes up 500%. On average, 600 women are shot to death by a partner each year, and gun-related domestic killings rose more than a quarter between 2010-2017, a significant increase after four decades of decline.

Europe’s hospitals among the best but can’t handle pandemic

As increasing numbers of European hospitals buckle under the strain of tens of thousands of coronavirus patients, the crisis has exposed a surprising paradox: Some of the world’s best health systems are remarkably ill-equipped to handle a pandemic. Outbreak experts say Europe’s hospital-centric systems, lack of epidemic experience and early complacency are partly to blame for the pandemic’s catastrophic tear across the continent.

World virus infections top 8,00,000

Spain’s coronavirus deaths jumped by a record number Tuesday as the country’s medical system strained to care for its tens of thousands of infected patients and the world total climbed to more than 800,000 case. In the United States, where the spread of the coronavirus has been accelerating, New York’s governor begged for health care reinforcements, saying up to 1 million more workers were needed.

Spain and Italy are still struggling to avoid the collapse of their health systems, with Spain saying hospitals in at least half of its 17 regions are at or very near their ICU bed limits and more than 13,000 medical workers are among the country’s reported 94,417 infections.

Dozens of hotels across Spain have been converted into recovery rooms for patients in less-serious condition, and authorities are building makeshift field hospitals in sports centers, libraries and exhibition halls. So far they have added 23,000 beds.

Spain records over 800 deaths in 24 hours

In a span of 24 hours, Spain has recorded 849 coronavirus-linked deaths, taking the toll to 8,189, as per AFP. Over 9,222 people have tested positive for the virus over the past 24 hours, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 94,417.

The European country has banned funeral ceremonies, including vigils at home, and decreed that no more than three people could attend burials as the government struggles with thousands of fatalities. Spain has stopped all non-essential economic activity for two weeks.

Denmark considering gradual lift of restrictions

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Denmark could start lifting some restrictions next month if the coronavirus curve continues to flatten out, AP reported. Frederiksen said late Monday that if Danes continue to stand together at a distance the government will consider gradually opening up in two weeks’ time.

She underlined that the crisis was far from over but there was growing evidence that Denmark, which started a gradual lockdown on March 11, had succeeded in delaying the infection, adding it gave a rise to optimism.

Australia’s coronavirus infection rate showing signs of slowing down: Health minister

Australia’s health minister on Tuesday said the coronavirus growth rate has shown some signs of slowing down after the government enforced the enhanced social distancing norms in the country which has more than 4,450 confirmed cases and 19 deaths. Australia has introduced a host of stricter rules on social distancing, including on-spot fines for individuals and businesses and gathering restrictions to only two people outdoor or indoor, in a bid to flatten the curve of infection growth rate.

“This progress is early, it’s significant, but now, with these additional rules around gatherings and movement, we are going to take the next step to help reduce the level of infection, and to support our containment,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Tuesday.

Indian-American Congressional candidate tests positive for coronavirus

An Indian-American former Barack Obama campaign staffer, who running in the Democratic primary for a Congressional seat in New York’s 12th District, has been tested positive for coronavirus, PTI reported. Suraj Patel disclosed his positive test in a statement posted on social media and on the blogging platform Medium on Monday.

Patel is running in the Democratic primary to replace incumbent Carolyn Maloney for the Congressional seat in New York’s 12th District. Patel said in his statement that about 10 days ago, he began experiencing a tightness in his chest and difficulty breathing followed by a regular fever of 102 degrees.

Hundreds of stranded Americans leave Nepal amid lockdown

Hundreds of stranded Americans left Nepal on a repatriation flight Tuesday, days after a complete lockdown was imposed in the Himalayan nation to help fight the coronavirus, AP reported. A Qatar Airways flight arranged by the US government flew out 302 Americans from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport to Washington, D.C. The elderly, families with children and people with a medical condition were given priority on the flight.

The US Embassy in Nepal estimates that 3,000 to 4,000 Americans are still in the country, but says that not all of them are seeking to leave. Plans for future flights to evacuate more of the Americans were unclear.

China hopes to re-open other provinces

China on Tuesday reported just one new death from the coronavirus and 48 new cases, all of them were imported. In Wuhan, no new domestic cases were reported, bringing the city closer to being re-opened to the rest of Hubei province and, eventually, the country. China has recorded 81,518 cases since the virus was first detected in Wuhan in December, and 3,305 deaths. A total of 76,052 virus patients have been released, and 2,161 remain in care.

Italy to extend lockdown

Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said Italy will follow the recommendation of scientists and extend a nationwide lockdown at least until April 12. The lockdown decree currently runs until April 3.  Speranza says the national scientific technical committee recommended “extending the containment measures at least until Easter,” April 12. Italy has more than 100,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections and nearly 11,600 deaths of infected persons. The country has been under lockdown for three weeks now.

Ffirefighters wearing protective suits wait outside a nursing home before disinfecting it in efforts to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, March 30, 2020. (AP Photo)

Meanwhile, Pope Francis’ vicar for Rome has tested positive for the coronavirus in the first case of a cardinal close to the pope known to be infected. Cardinal Angelo De Donatis had been in touch with Francis in recent weeks — apparently not in person, however- – over the cardinal’s initial decision to close all Rome churches in line with an Italian government shutdown decree.

US ‘faces hundreds of thousands of deaths’

As many as 200,000 people in the US may die even if Washington plays its response to the outbreak “almost perfectly”, according Dr Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House coronavirus taskforce. And the total would be far worse if the nation reopened. Those stark predictions grew even more tangible and harrowing when paired with televised images of body bags lined up at a New York City hospital not far from where Trump grew up in Queens.

Coronavirus, world bank on Coronavirus, Coronavirus impact on economy, Coronavirus impact on china economy, Coronavirus impact on china growth, Coronavirus impact on india economy, world bank on covid-19 Women wearing protective masks to prevent the new coronavirus outbreak walk on a re-opened commercial street in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province on Monday, March 30, 2020. ( AP)

“If we do things together well, almost perfectly, we could get in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities,” she told NBC News’ Today. We don’t even want to see that … the best-case scenario would be 100% of Americans doing precisely what is required, but we’re not sure … that all of America is responding in a uniform way to protect one another.”

Meanwhile, the Trump administration is coordinating with the Indian government to evacuate stranded American citizens from India who have expressed interest to return to the US, a top official here has said. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Ian Brownlee told reporters during a teleconference on Monday that the US had brought back some 25,000 of its citizens from 50 countries and another 9,000, including those from India, have expressed their interest to return to America in the wake of the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has engulfed the world.

France suffers its worst daily death toll

French health authorities report 418 new deaths, taking the total in the country to 3,024. It has become the fourth nation to cross the 3,000 fatalities threshold after China, Italy and Spain.

Coffins arriving from the Bergamo area, where the coronavirus infections caused many victims, are being unloaded from a military truck that transported them in the cemetery of Cinisello Balsamo, near Milan in Northern Italy

The daily government tally only accounts for those dying in hospital but authorities say they will very soon be able to compile data on deaths in retirement homes, which is likely to result in a big increase in registered fatalities.

World Bank sees outbreak taking a big toll on Asia’s economy

A currency trader watches the computer monitors near the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left, and the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

The World Bank is estimating that the cornavirus outbreak will cause economic growth to slow down significantly this year in China and other East Asian-Pacific countries, throwing millions into poverty. Under a worse-case scenario, the region could suffer its sharpest downturn since a devastating currency crisis more than two decades ago, the bank said in an updated forecast released Monday. The bank’s report projects that growth in the region would slow to 2.1% this year from 5.8 per cent in 2019 under a “baseline” forecast in which economic recovery takes hold this summer.  More than 11 million people could fall into poverty in the region under the worse-case scenario, the bank estimates. That’s in stark contrast to its earlier forecast that growth would be sufficient this year to lift 35 million people out of poverty.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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