Covid-19: virus cases around 2 million worldwide; some new hot spots

WASHINGTON: New York The death toll exceeded 10,000 and the global number of confirmed cases hovered around 2 million on Monday, even as the lack of new hot spots around the world cast a ray of optimism and fueled discussions about how some places might start to reopen .

The brunt of the disease has been felt most heavily in New York , Italy, France, Spain and the United Kingdom, but grim projections of a virus that would spread with equal ferocity to other corners of America and the world have not yet materialized after more than a month of measures meant to blunt its impact.

An online panel tracking the global number of confirmed coronavirus cases, maintained by Johns Hopkins University, on Monday night showed that the number of cases in the US USA It approaches 683,000, with more than 2 million worldwide. Subsequently, the site was adjusted to reflect nearly 582,000 cases in the United States. USA And 1.9 million cases worldwide. It was not immediately clear why the numbers changed. Of those 1.9 million cases, almost 120,000 people died, while almost 449,600 recovered.

The death toll in populous states such as Florida and Pennsylvania was on par with some individual counties outside New York City. Houston, the nation's fourth-largest city and a hub for immigrant communities and business travelers in the energy industry, has been largely spared compared to other parts of the U.S. As Colorado deaths surpassed 300 on Monday, Gov. Jared Polis compared that figure to New York 's thousands and called it ``a tragic indication of our success in Colorado.''

Officials around the world fear that halting the quarantine and social distancing measures could easily undo the progress those steps have made to stem the spread.

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Still, there were signs that countries were looking in that direction. Spain allowed some workers to return to their jobs, while a severely affected region of Italy loosened its closure restrictions. The governors of both coasts of the EE. USA They announced that they would join forces to achieve a coordinated reopening at some point, setting the stage for a possible conflict with President Donald Trump, who claimed that he is the ultimate decision-maker to determine how and when to reopen.

Trump continued those claims during a White House briefing on Monday, rejecting journalists' questions about whether the president or governors have the authority to ease the restrictions. He said his administration has `` a very good relationship '' with governors, but that `` the federal government has absolute power '' in that decision-making process if it decides to exercise it.

The Trump administration also tried to delay deadlines for the 2020 census due to the outbreak, a move that would delay timelines for publishing data used to draw legislative and congressional districts.

United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the Monday briefing that he expects more than 80 million Americans to have tax refunds directly deposited into their bank accounts by Wednesday. The refunds are aimed at boosting the economy as the country responds to the coronavirus.

New York saw a few positive signs Monday even as it reached another bleak milestone. It marked the first time in a week that the daily toll dipped below 700. Almost 2,000 people were newly hospitalized with the virus Sunday, though once discharges and deaths are accounted for, the number of people hospitalized has flattened to just under 19,000.

`` This virus is very good at what it does. He's an assassin, '' Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

In the U.S., about half of the more than 22,000 deaths reported are in the New York metropolitan area. Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins' tracking maps showed a dense patchwork of coronavirus cases along the Northeast corridor, as well as significant outbreaks corresponding to other major metropolitan areas _ though nothing on the scale of what New York has endured.

Houston's 18 total deaths since the start of the outbreak make up a tiny fraction of the one-day toll in New York City, prompting Mayor Sylvester Turner to say the city was achieving its goal of slowing ``the progression of this virus so that our health care delivery system would not be overwhelmed.``

Dr. Sebastian Johnston, professor of respiratory medicine at Imperial College London, said that it seemed that COVID-19 had peaked in much of Europe, including France, Spain, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. He was concerned that the virus could start taking in countries in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. There is also concern for Russia.

China, where the pandemic began, reported 89 new cases of the virus Tuesday, 86 of them among travelers who came from abroad, but there were no new deaths. The total number of deaths in the country was 3,341 of the 82,249 cases.

South Korea reported its 13th consecutive day with fewer than 100 confirmed cases of the virus on Tuesday as infections continued to decline in the most affected city of Daegu and nearby cities. In early March, the country reported 500 new cases per day.

Hot spots may still emerge as states issue orders to stay home, said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the University of Washington institute that created widely cited projections of virus-related deaths. He pointed to the states where the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise: Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Florida.

`` Don't consider relaxing social distancing in the short term, '' Murray said he would advise leaders in those states. `` You need to stay the course. ''

To date, some US infections. USA They have been fired as sparks that start fires, while others have died out. Trevor Bedford, whose lab at the Seattle Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has been tracking the pandemic using the virus' genetic code, acknowledges that it is a `` dice roll '' that makes predicting hot spots difficult.

And when the restrictions are eased, people won't immediately dive back into their social connections, at least not without caution, Bedford said.

A study released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, relying on data from mobile devices in New Orleans, New York City, San Francisco and Seattle, suggested that social-distancing policies prompted more people to stay at home in March and might have curbed spread of the virus.

The report `` provides some very early indications that these measures could help delay the spread of COVD-19, '' the authors said.

The infection rate remains relatively low in areas of the developing world that have poor or non-existent healthcare infrastructure. The rapid spread of the coronavirus beyond cities to more rural areas often depends on travel and social connections, said Dr. Mike Ryan, head of emergencies at the World Health Organization.

But he noted that rural areas often have less sophisticated health surveillance systems to detect potential clusters of diseases, prompting the question: `` Is it not there, or is it that we are not detecting the disease when it is there? ''

In some European countries, officials signaled positive signs when they began preparing for the reopening of largely closed economies and industries.

Italian authorities announced Monday that there were 3,153 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, roughly a 1.9 percent increase. That brings the total number of known cases in the country to almost 160,000. However, the number of daily deaths, 566, increased, from the 431 new deaths recorded on Sunday.

The daily increase in infections in Italy was one of the lowest in weeks, reinforcing a generally downward trend. The slightly relaxed restrictions were about to take effect in some sectors of the country, such as allowing stores that sell items for newborns to reopen.

In severely affected Spain, workers were allowed to return to some factory and construction jobs while the government sought to restart manufacturing. Retail stores and services had yet to remain closed, and the government required that office workers continue to work from home.

Some health experts and politicians argue that it is premature to alleviate confinement in a nation that has suffered more than 17,750 deaths and reported more than 170,000 infections, second only to the 581,670 cases in the United States.

Health Minister Salvador Illa said Monday that he would act with `` the utmost caution and prudence ... and always based on scientific evidence. ''