Global Coronavirus Deaths Top 200k: Live Updates

Summary:

  • WHO warns against "immunity passports"
  • Global case total nears 2.8 million, deaths near 200k
  • Brussels relaxes rules on state financing for companies
  • Global Times editor continues to dunk on the president
  • US death toll passes 50k while total cases passes 900k 
  • Trump admin decides against participating in global vaccine and drug initiative organized by the WHO
  • 107-year-old Spanish woman who survived Spanish flu also beat coronavirus
  • Oregon finds its distancing measures may have prevented 70k infections
  • New York reports 437 deaths as Cuomo signs order to start testing in pharmacies
  • UK deaths surpass 20k
  • Trump slams WSJ editorial board
  • Global single-day deaths declined for third-straight day on Friday
  • Internet traffic is up 20% across Europe and US as lockdowns drag on
  • Spain sees promising decline in deaths
  • Former UK Chancellor urges gov't to share plan for reopening with the people

*       *       *

Update (1615ET): Illinois just reported its latest numbers:

  • ILLINOIS REPORTS 80 ADDITIONAL CORONAVIRUS DEATHS TO TOTAL OF 1,874 - STATE OFFICIAL

Update (1540ET): After Spain reported yet another batch of promising numbers suggesting Europe's deadliest outbreak is truly waning, PM Pedro Sanchez announced Saturday that his government would loosen the lockdown to allow for more outdoor exercise by May 2 if the numbers continue to fall.

Meanwhile, a Spanish woman who who is 107 years old and reportedly survived the Spanish flu in 1918 has now also beaten the coronvirus in the latest example of a centenarian being infected and surviving.

The Spanish Flu was known to also infect children and infants - something that scientists aren't sure about in regards to the coronavirus. Actually, research continues to try and determine if closing schools is worthwhile in terms of the disruptive impact it has on the economy.

And in the latest report about young people either exhibiting strange reactions to the virus, or facing strange and sometimes lethal afflictions that have little to do with the cardiovascular system, WaPo says that a surprising number of COVID-19 patients in their 30s and 40s have been dying of strokes.

*       *       *

Update (1400ET): In the latest global milestone, the number of coronavirus deaths has surpassed 200k.

Meanwhile, GT editor Hu Xijin continues to dunk on the president.

*       *       *

Update (1345ET): In a decision that will undoubtedly outrage liberals, the US has decided against taking part in a global initiative on Friday to speed the development, production and distribution of drugs and vaccines against COVID-19, a spokesman for the U.S. mission in Geneva told Reuters.

"There will be no U.S. official participation," he said in an email reply to a query. "We look forward to learning more about this initiative in support of international cooperation to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 as soon as possible."

In other news, for every American European with cabin fever, this is what Causeway Bay in Hong Kong looked like on Saturday.

*       *       *

Update (1340ET): The UK Department of Health and Social Care just released the latest figures from the battle against COVID-19, confirming what was widely expected: The UK has become the latest country to see its death toll surpass 20k as another 813 deaths, bringing the total to 20,380. All told, the UK has reported 149,554 cases.

As one FT reporter explains, roughly 150 of these deaths occurred before April 6, but are only just now being counted.

Watch the latest coronavirus presser below:

During the briefing, Home Secretary Priti Patel described the country's latest grim milestone as “deeply tragic and moving moment" and warned that "we are not out of the woods yet." The Home Secretary also used the daily press briefing at Downing Street to warn criminals that "our outstanding police and law enforcement agencies are absolutely on to you."

*       *       *

Update (1220ET): As Italians everywhere celebrate italy's "Liberation Day" - the date of the Italians' victory over fascism - the Civil Protection Service reports another decline in new cases and deaths. The total number of confirmed cases in Italy climbed to 195,351 on Friday, up +1,22%, or 2,357, roughly even with the average pace from the last few days, while the death toll climbed 1.6% to 26,384 after breaking above the 25k mark a day earlier.

The number of hospitalizations, and the number of patients in intensive care, both continued to fall, with the number of patients listed as officially recovered once again nearly equaling the number of day yesterday.

In Washington, President Trump has apparently taken umbrage with a recent WSJ editorial that failed to make it completely clear that Trump did not approve of the governor's decision to reopen.

Something that was news to the governor when Trump first said it Thursday night.

*       *       *

Update (1200ET): New York Governor Andrew Cuomo started his Saturday press briefing by announcing his plans to sign an executive order allowing independent pharmacists to carry out coronavirus tests, making New York State the first in the country to embrace technology and protocols allowing more tests to be conducted outside hospital and clinical care settings.

It's all part of Cuomo's attempt to implement mass surveillance testing in the state, a long-term strategy to keep numbers down.

Cuomo also reported 437 deaths over the last 24 hours, a slight increase over the prior day, but still in keeping with the recent trend of fewer than 500 deaths per day, roughly half the level from the 'peak' earlier this month.

  • NEW YORK GOVERNOR CUOMO SAYS TO SIGN EXECUTIVE ORDER ALLOWING INDEPENDENT PHARMACISTS TO CONDUCT CORONAVIRUS TESTS
  • NEW YORK STATEWIDE TOTAL CORONAVIRUS HOSPITALIZATIONS FALL TO SAME LEVEL AS 21 DAYS AGO - GOVERNOR CUOMO
  • NEW YORK STATEWIDE CORONAVIRUS DEATHS RISE BY 437 ON APRIL 24, VS INCREASE OF 422 A DAY EARLIER - GOVERNOR CUOMO
  • NEW YORK NEW COVID-19 HOSPITAL PATIENTS HAS FALLEN TO ABOUT 1,100 PER DAY, VS AROUND 1,300 PREVIOUSLY
  • NEW YORK GOVERNOR SAYS TO EXPAND TESTING CRITERIA TO INCLUDE MORE NEW YORKERS, STARTING WITH FIRST RESPONDERS AND OTHER ESSENTIAL WORKERS

Hospitalizations also continued to decline, as capacity increased to its highest level in 3 weeks.

Watch Cuomo live:

*       *       *

Bill Gates might want to rethink his decision to firmly defend the WHO against President Trump's decision to defund the organization - technically an arm of the UN - over allegations that it aided China's initial dissembling about the virus.

Gates and others have loudly cheered the expansion of surveillance methods to aid in efforts like 'contact tracing' and other advanced techniques to try and track who may or may not have been exposed to the virus. Many proponents of civil liberties, meanwhile, have argued that some of the more extreme measures in play offer little benefit in exchange for such a dramatic expansion of the security state.

One of this movement's favorite proposals is the "immunity passport", which would, in theory, allow those who are theoretically immune go about their lives while everybody else remains stuck inside.

In an announcement early Saturday in Europe, the WHO warned members against issuing so-called "immunity passports", essentially a document allowing individuals who test positive for coronavirus antibodies to return to work. The organization explained that - as we've noted numerous times over the past few months - there's no actual evidence that patients with antibodies - including those who've recovered from the virus, a group that includes at least 800,000 people - will be immune to reinfection.

"There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from Covid-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection," the WHO said. The health agency said it is reviewing the evidence on whether people who recover from Covid-19 become immune, but that there are no studies on whether the presence of antibodies indicates immunity in humans. It said giving people who have antibodies special rights to travel or work "may therefore increase the risks of continued transmission."

Of course, that's bad news for everybody who hoped that 'anitbody testing' would save us from the 'rona.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to expand at a roughly steady pace. Thankfully, the surge in daily fatalities observed over the past 2 weeks has finally begun to subside.

The FT reports that the worldwide COVID-19 death toll has risen by 6,182 on Friday to stand at 182,690. This is the third consecutive day where the number of new deaths has been lower than the previous day.

Still, if this pace of expansion continues, we should expect to see the global total pass the 3 million mark by Tuesday, if not earlier. Public health authorities from around the world reported 105,825 new cases yesterday, bringing the total to 2.76 million, according to data from Worldometers.

The global death toll is rapidly approaching 200k, with the US is responsible for 25% of them. As businesses in Georgia continue to reopen, the White House is debating a new legal liability shield for American businesses to prevent them from being sued over the coronavirus.

In the US, the number of deaths passed 50k on Friday while the case total passed 900k early Saturday, leaving the country well on the way to the 1 million case mark. The US would be the first country to report 1 million confirmed cases. 

In Brussels, bureaucrats have rushed to relax state aid rules, and regulators have approved a series of multi-billion-euro schemes to allow member states to extend financing to companies - in some cases via direct equity injections - to help them weather the pandemic. Although leaders of both factions have told reporters that important progress was made at Thursday's virtual summit to work out the details of a massive pan-European relief program to help the worst-hit governments in the bloc. As one might expect, German and a handful of wealthy northern states have gotten into an intense disagreement with the poorer, worst-hit southern states (Spain, Italy joined in this instance by Emmanuel Macron's France) over how the program should be financed, and whether the loans should come in the form of loans, or outright grants.

As the country with the highest mortality rate in Europe, Spain has eased its lockdown measures only slightly, while warning that the current target date to begin reopening is May 9. But in a promising bit of news, the country reported fewer than 400 fatalities for the second consecutive day on Saturday (the count was accurate as of 9pm Madrid Time Friday) while the spread of new cases has also slowed.

Across Europe and the US, Internet traffic is up 20%, according to the FT and Media analytics group ComScore, which measured the number of unique page views and compared it with an "average" benchmark across several key markets.

With no end to a strict national lockdown in sight, millions of Britons are starting to get a little squirrely. To try to assuage these anxieties, former UK Chancellor Philip Hammond has suggested that No. 10 share its plan for reopening the economy with the public.

"The reality is that we have to start reopening the economy but we have to do it living with Covid," Mr Hammond told BBC’s Today. "We can’t wait until a vaccine is developed... and rolled out across the population. The economy won’t survive that long."

Now that the pace of new cases and deaths has slowed, it's clear that lockdowns and social distancing measures are pretty effective at slowing the virus's spread, which - remember - is the whole point of this: Eventually, scientists say, much of the global population will be exposed to this virus. It's just a question of whether that's going to happen over a few years, or a few months. In the latest positive indication, Oregon health officials have found that their state's aggressive social distancing measures may have prevented more than 70,000 cases since early March.