Coronavirus confirmed cases exceed a million worldwide

Coronavirus confirmed cases exceed a million worldwide

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases across the world has passed the one million threshold.

The count from the Johns Hopkins University’s website represents confirmed cases but the true number is believed to be much higher.

Nearly 51,500 people have died from after testing positive for Covid-19.

The United States accounts for about 236,000 of the confirmed cases – more than any other country, according to the tally.

The milestone came on the same day that figures showed more than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week in the latest indication that the pandemic is ravaging global economies.

The outbreak has left 10 million Americans unemployed in just two weeks.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency in the US asked the Pentagon for 100,000 body bags because of the possibility funeral homes will be overwhelmed, the military said.

Competition for protective equipment such as face masks is growing increasingly fierce (AP/Sue Ogrocki)
Competition for protective equipment such as face masks is growing increasingly fierce (AP/Sue Ogrocki)

The Democratic Party has pushed its nominating convention back a month, to mid-August, because of the pandemic.

The mounting economic fallout almost certainly signals the onset of a global recession, with job losses that are likely to dwarf those of the Great Recession more than a decade ago.

Elsewhere around the world, at least a million people in Europe are estimated to have lost their jobs. Spain alone has added over 300,000 to its unemployment rolls in March.

Yet the job losses appear to be far smaller than in the US because of Europe’s greater social safety nets, including government programmes to reduce workers’ hours without laying them off, in the hope of bringing them back quickly once the crisis passes.

Spain reported a record 950 deaths across one day, bringing its overall toll to about 10,000, despite signs that the infection rate is slowing.

A temporary field hospital in Madrid (AP/Manu Fernandez)
A temporary field hospital in Madrid (AP/Manu Fernandez)

Italy recorded 760 more deaths, for a total of 13,900, the worst of any country, but new infections continued to level off. More than 10,000 medical personnel in Italy have been infected and 69 doctors have died.

The competition for ventilators, masks and other vital supplies is cutthroat.

In New York, governor Andrew Cuomo warned that the state is quickly running out of breathing machines. He said: “At the current burn rate, we have enough ventilators for six days.”

He also said the state will pay a premium to manufacturers – and cover the cost of converting their factories too – to produce gowns and other badly needed protective gear.

Mr Cuomo said: “But we need this like now. Not talking about two months, three months, four months. We need these materials now.”

The governor has complained that the 50 US states are competing against each other for protective gear and breathing machines, or are being outbid by the federal government, in a competition he likened to being on eBay.

In France, a top health official in the country’s hard-hit eastern region said American officials swooped in at a Chinese airport to spirit away a planeload of masks that France had ordered.

Nine leading European university hospitals warned they will run out of essential medicines for Covid-19 patients in intensive care in less than two weeks.

In Japan, where masks are a household staple, the government planned to post two gauze masks each to the country’s 50 million households.

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