Virus cases top 100,000 cases as economic impact snowballs

Crossing more borders, the new coronavirus hit a milestone Friday, infecting more than 100,000 people worldwide as it wove itself deeper into the daily lives of millions, infecting the powerful, the unprotected poor and vast masses in between.

Posted: Mar 6, 2020 4:52 PM

PARIS (AP) — Crossing more borders, the new coronavirus hit a milestone Friday, infecting more than 100,000 people worldwide as it wove itself deeper into the daily lives of millions, infecting the powerful, the unprotected poor and vast masses in between.

The virus, which has killed more than 3,400 people, edged into more U.S. states, emerged in at least four new countries and even breached the halls of the Vatican. It forced mosques in Iran and beyond to halt weekly Muslim prayers, blocked pilgrims from Jesus’ birthplace in Bethlehem and upended Japan’s plans for the Olympic torch parade.

As financial markets dived again, repercussions from the virus also rattled livelihoods in the real economy.

“Who is going to feed their families?” asked Elias al-Arja, head of a hotel owners’ union in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where tourists have been banned and the storied Church of the Nativity was shuttered.

At the White House, President Donald Trump signed a $8.3 billion bill to fight the coronavirus a day after Italy said it would double its virus fight spending to 7.5 billion euros ($8.5 billion).

In Geneva, the U.N. health agency said it had received applications for 40 possible virus tests, had 20 vaccine candidates in development and reported that numerous clinical trials of experimental drugs for the new coronavirus were under way.

“We’re all in this together. We all have a role to play,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, chief of the World Health Organization, urging more global cooperation from the business world and solidarity with the poorest.

Yet even as COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, reached 90 countries, more than half of those who contracted the virus have now recovered. It’s retreating in China, where it first emerged, and in nearby South Korea.

Questions swirled around whether Iran could control its outbreak, as the number of reported infections jumped beyond 4,700 on Friday, with 124 deaths. Iran set up checkpoints to limit travel and had firefighters spray disinfectant on an 18-kilometer (11-mile) stretch of Tehran’s most famous avenue.

“It would be great if they did it every day,” grocery store owner Reza Razaienejad said. “It should not be just a one-time thing.”

The 100,000 figure of global infections is largely symbolic, but dwarfs other major outbreaks in recent decades, such as SARS, MERS and Ebola. The virus is still much less widespread than annual flu epidemics, which result in up to 5 million annual severe cases around the world and from 290,000 to 650,000 deaths annually, according to WHO.

But the epidemic’s economic impact snowballed, with world stocks and the price of oil dropping sharply again Friday.

The travel decline and a broader economic downturn linked to the outbreak threatened to hit already-struggling communities for months. In response to plummeting demand, German airline Lufthansa announced a reduction of its capacity in coming weeks to as much as 50% of pre-coronavirus outbreak levels. Slovakia banned all flights to and from Italy.

The head of the U.N.’s food agency, the World Food Program, warned of potential for “absolute devastation” as the outbreak’s effects ripple through Africa and the Middle East. India scrambled to stave off an epidemic that could overwhelm its under-funded, under-staffed health care system, which lacks enough labs or hospitals for its 1.3 billion people.

“We’re seeing more countries affected with lower incomes, with weaker health systems and that’s more concerning,” WHO chief Ghebreyesus said.

White collar workers can log onto laptops from home, but health care workers, waiters, delivery workers, cashiers, drivers, museum attendants and others can’t. And sick leave policies or health insurance coverage are inconsistent around the world, putting millions of workers’ earnings at risk. In the U.S. the AFL-CIO labor federation urged the government to issue emergency regulations outlining employers’ responsibilities to protect workers from infectious diseases.

The fear and the crackdowns that swept through China are now shifting westward, as workers in Europe and the U.S. stay home, authorities vigorously sanitize public places and consumers flock to stores for household staples.

Nation after nation put some travel restrictions into place, blocking visitors from hard-hit areas like China, South Korea, Italy and Iran. The United Nations’ top climate change official said her agency won’t hold any physical meetings at its headquarters in Germany or elsewhere until the end of April.

French Health Minister Olivier Veran said children would be banned from visiting patients in hospitals and other health facilities across the country and that patients would be limited to one adult visit at a time. Spanish officials announced a month-long closure of 200 centers in and around Madrid where the elderly go for daytime care and activities.

“The Western world is now following some of China’s playbook,” Chris Beauchamp, a market analyst at the financial firm IG, said of the reaction to flu-like illness that for most people causes mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough but can hit elderly or sick people much harder.

Off California’s coast, the spectacle of a Grand Princess cruise ship ordered to stay at sea with passengers confined to their cabins as 45 people were tested for the virus was eerily similar to a scene on the other side of the globe in which about 700 of the 3,700 aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship were infected during a quarantine.

Thailand on Friday blocked a separate cruise ship from docking, worried because it carried dozens of passengers from Italy, which with 148 virus deaths is the center of Europe’s epidemic.

In the U.S. the number of cases surpassed 230, scattered across 18 states. The University of Washington announced Friday it would stop holding classes and teach students online, a decision affecting some 57,000 students. The state has at least 70 confirmed COVID-19 cases, most in the Seattle area and the highest U.S. state death toll at 13.

China reported 143 new cases Friday and South Korea had 505 more cases, down from earlier daily tallies. But the numbers kept growing in Europe and the death toll in hard hit Italy reached 197. Serbia threatened to deploy the army to keep the virus at bay, and Hungary used virus fears to tighten its doors against migrants.

In Switzlerand, officials reported 210 new virus cases on Friday, up from 90 a day earlier, and the military was being readied to provide support services at hospitals.

“This wave will come, it will rise, but it will be over at some point,” said Daniel Koch, head of the department for communicable diseases at the country’s Federal Office of Health.

The Netherlands reported its first virus death Friday while Serbia, Slovakia, Peru and Cameroon announced their first infections. Even Vatican City was hit, with the tiny city-state confirming its first case Friday. The Vatican has insisted that 83-year-old Pope Francis, who has been sick, only has a cold.

WHO officials warned against having “false hopes” that the virus could fade away when warmer summer temperatures come to northern countries.

“Every day we slow down the epidemic is another day governments can prepare their health workers to detect, test, treat and care for patients,” the WHO chief told reporters. “Every day we slow down the epidemic is another day closer to having vaccines and therapeutics, which can, in turn, prevent infections and save lives.”

___

Sedensky reported from Bangkok. Associated Press writers contributing to this report were Alan Clendenning in Phoenix; Jamey Keaten in Geneva; Kim Tong-Hyung and Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea; Aya Batrawy and Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Nicole Winfield in Rome; Colleen Barry in Milan, Italy; Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade; Sylvie Corbet in Paris; Gene Johnson in Seattle; Olga Rodriguez in San Francisco; and Mohammed Daraghmeh in Bethlehem, West Bank.

Terre Haute
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 66°
Robinson
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 61°
Indianapolis
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 66°
Rockville
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 64°
Casey
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 61°
Brazil
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 66°
Marshall
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 66°
Clouds move in today with showers possible this evening.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1363409

Reported Deaths: 24725
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook54578510114
DuPage906281281
Will75577990
Lake67248988
Kane58414774
Winnebago33247475
Madison30525520
McHenry28604288
St. Clair27862514
Peoria23136315
Champaign20649145
Sangamon18762234
McLean18167179
Tazewell16959288
Rock Island14994317
Kankakee14193210
Kendall1306094
LaSalle12553243
Macon10762199
DeKalb9874119
Vermilion9653132
Adams8466123
Williamson7433130
Whiteside7165172
Boone670773
Ogle611481
Grundy589375
Clinton576090
Coles568795
Knox5565145
Jackson502764
Henry498167
Livingston482585
Stephenson475983
Woodford475176
Effingham472972
Macoupin470282
Marion4472115
Franklin445075
Monroe435793
Jefferson4296120
Lee416952
Randolph413184
Fulton392756
Morgan390382
Logan388058
Bureau372082
Montgomery372074
Christian366773
Perry317560
Fayette317455
Iroquois302266
McDonough285647
Jersey268950
Douglas258835
Saline256454
Lawrence240525
Shelby229837
Union226040
Crawford212026
Bond205024
Cass199225
Jo Daviess181524
Clark179833
Warren179846
Pike179152
Ford178647
Wayne177553
Hancock176032
Carroll175436
Richland175040
Edgar170440
White169726
Washington164525
Moultrie161028
De Witt151324
Mason151045
Piatt149814
Clay148143
Mercer147033
Johnson144415
Greene143733
Wabash134512
Massac134340
Cumberland129019
Menard123612
Jasper115018
Marshall107318
Hamilton83315
Schuyler7587
Brown7066
Pulaski6877
Stark63823
Edwards57112
Henderson52514
Calhoun5182
Putnam4823
Scott4791
Alexander46811
Gallatin4584
Hardin38612
Pope3224
Out of IL40
Unassigned02356

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 733591

Reported Deaths: 13466
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1003871748
Lake54020975
Allen40829679
St. Joseph35898552
Hamilton35735408
Elkhart28745442
Tippecanoe22432219
Vanderburgh22342397
Porter18871310
Johnson18028381
Hendricks17283315
Clark13015191
Madison12725339
Vigo12482248
LaPorte12011214
Monroe11928170
Delaware10726187
Howard9959218
Kosciusko9451117
Hancock8325142
Bartholomew8085156
Warrick7792155
Floyd7677178
Grant7080174
Wayne7064199
Boone6722101
Morgan6596139
Dubois6162117
Marshall6083112
Cass5839105
Dearborn582178
Henry5767104
Noble563684
Jackson502773
Shelby493696
Lawrence4571120
Harrison436372
Gibson436292
DeKalb429685
Clinton428153
Montgomery425389
Whitley397439
Huntington393380
Steuben390057
Miami382668
Knox372690
Jasper370148
Putnam362360
Wabash354980
Adams341955
Ripley340270
Jefferson331581
White315654
Daviess298299
Wells291981
Decatur285692
Fayette281662
Greene280085
Posey271933
LaGrange268370
Scott267254
Clay260647
Washington241832
Randolph241481
Spencer232631
Jennings230649
Starke217854
Fountain213246
Sullivan212142
Owen202156
Jay196730
Fulton195640
Carroll189620
Orange184154
Perry184037
Rush173725
Vermillion169743
Franklin168435
Tipton163045
Parke146616
Blackford135132
Pike135134
Pulaski117145
Newton108334
Brown102641
Crawford101315
Benton99014
Martin89515
Warren82415
Switzerland7938
Union71110
Ohio57111
Unassigned0417