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Rapid COVID-19 Escalation Pushes World Past 900,000 Cases

As the global total passed 900,000 COVID-19 cases yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) director-general said he is deeply concerned about the rapid escalation in cases and the wide reach of the virus, which now threatens to bear down on low-income countries with fragile health systems. Spurred mainly by rapidly growing pandemic activity across Europe and the United States, the global total yesterday is at 926,924 cases in 180 countries, which includes 46,252 deaths.

As the global total passed 900,000 COVID-19 cases yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) director-general said he is deeply concerned about the rapid escalation in cases and the wide reach of the virus, which now threatens to bear down on low-income countries with fragile health systems.

Spurred mainly by rapidly growing pandemic activity across Europe and the United States, the global total yesterday is at 926,924 cases in 180 countries, which includes 46,252 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

As virus activity enters its fourth month, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said yesterday at a telebriefing that the world is witnessing nearly exponential growth, and deaths have more than doubled in the past week. He added that, over the next few days, global totals will hit 1 million cases, 50,000 of them fatal.

Readiness Critical for Africa and Central, South America
CIDRAP reports that tThough fewer confirmed cases have been reported in Africa, Central America, and South America, rapid pandemic expansion could have serious social, economic, and political consequences. Tedros said he is encouraged that countries have been preparing and are asking people to stay at home, which can limit spread of the novel coronavirus, but can have unintended consequences for the poorest and most vulnerable people.

In a related development, the WHO’s Pan American Health Organization yesterday said many countries in the Americas are now reporting community transmission and that there is still a short window of time for governments to slow the spread of the virus. It urged countries to prepare their healthcare systems for the expected influx of patients, protect their health workers, and decide what social distancing measures to implement and for how long.

Tedros said he has called on governments to put social programs in place to provide food and other essentials. He noted that India’s prime minister has announced a $24 billion package for disadvantaged people, which includes food for 800 million, cash transfers to 204 million poor women, and free cooking gas to 80 million households for the next 3 months.

India is just a few days into a 21-day lockdown, which stranded migrant workers without food and shelter and triggered other problems. The country now has 1,998 cases, 601 of them reported yesterday.

Tedros said some countries will struggle to provide social welfare programs for their people, and the WHO, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund call for debt relief for those countries Source: Homeland Security News Wire

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