Virus Deaths,Unemployment Accelerating 04/03 06:19
NEW YORK (AP) -- Coronavirus deaths mounted with alarming speed in Spain,
Italy and New York, the most lethal hot spot in the United States, while the
outbreak has thrown 10 million Americans out of work in just two weeks and by
Friday had sickened more than a million people.
The public health crisis deepened in New York City, where one funeral home
in a hard-hit neighborhood had 185 bodies stacked up --- more than triple
normal capacity. The city has seen at least 1,500 virus deaths.
"It's surreal," owner Pat Marmo said, adding that he's been begging families
to insist hospitals hold their dead loved ones as long as possible. "We need
Worldwide the number of reported infections hit another gloomy milestone ---
1 million, with more than 53,000 deaths, according to a tally kept by Johns
Hopkins University. But the true numbers are believed to be much higher because
of testing shortages, many mild cases that have gone unreported and suspicions
that some countries are covering up the extent of their outbreaks.
Spain on Thursday reported a record one-day number of deaths, 950, bringing
its overall toll to about 10,000, despite signs that the infection rate is
slowing. Italy recorded 760 more deaths, for a total of 13,900, the worst of
any country, but new infections continued to level off.
France recorded a running total of about 4,500 deaths in hospitals, with 471
in the past day. But officials expect the overall toll to jump significantly
because they are only now starting to count deaths in nursing homes and other
facilities for older people.
France's Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said he and his government
colleagues are "fighting hour by hour" to ward off shortages of essential drugs
used to keep COVID-19 patients alive in intensive care.
As the death toll grew, so did the economic fallout. New unemployment
numbers showed the outbreak has thrown 10 million Americans out of work in just
two weeks in the swiftest, most stunning collapse the U.S. job market has ever
Roughly 90% of the U.S. population is under stay-at-home orders, and many
factories, restaurants, stores and other businesses are closed or have seen
sales shrivel. Economists warned unemployment would almost certainly top those
of the Great Recession a decade ago and could reach levels not seen since the
Great Depression in the 1930s.
"My anxiety is through the roof right now, not knowing what's going to
happen," said Laura Wieder, laid off from her job managing a now-closed sports
bar in Bellefontaine, Ohio.
The pandemic will cost the world economy as much as $4.1 trillion, or nearly
5% of all economic activity, the Philippines-based Asian Development Bank, said
At least a million people in Europe are estimated to have lost their jobs
over the past couple of weeks. Spain alone added more than 300,000 to its
unemployment rolls in March.
But the job losses in Europe appear to be far smaller than in the U.S.
because of countries' greater social safety nets.
Estimates of those in China, the world's second-largest economy, who have
lost jobs or are underemployed run as high as 200 million. The government said
Friday it would would provide an additional 1 trillion yuan ($142 billion) to
local banks to lend at preferential rates to small- and medium-sized businesses
that provide the bulk of employment.
With more than 245,000 people infected in the U.S. and the death toll
topping 6,000, sobering preparations were underway. The Federal Emergency
Management Agency asked the Pentagon for 100,000 body bags because of the
possibility funeral homes will be overwhelmed, the military said.
White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said U.S.
infection data suggest Americans need to emulate those European nations that
have started to see the spread of the virus slowing through strict social
The Trump administration was formalizing new guidance to recommend Americans
wear coverings such as non-medical masks, T-shirts or bandannas over their
mouths and noses when out in public and preserve medical masks for those on the
But there are still shortages of critical equipment, including masks, in
Europe and the U.S.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that New York could run out of breathing machines
in six days. He complained that states are competing against each other for
protective gear and breathing machines, or are being outbid by the federal
Trump invoked the Defense Production Act in hopes of boosting production of
medical-grade masks by Minnesota-based 3M to assist first responders.
Washington is also trying to crack down on a growing black market for
protective medical supplies.
Nine leading European university hospitals warned they will run out of
essential medicines for COVID-19 patients in intensive care in less than two
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as
fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with health
problems, it can cause severe symptoms like pneumonia.
In a sign of the outbreak's impact on the U.S. military, the captain of a
Navy aircraft carrier facing a growing outbreak of the virus was fired by Navy
leaders who said he created a panic by sending his memo pleading for help to
too many people. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly says the ship's commander, Navy
Capt. Brett Crozier, "demonstrated extremely poor judgment" in the middle of a
Elsewhere among the world's most vulnerable, aid workers were bracing for a
possible outbreak among more than 1 million Rohingya Muslim refugees living in
cramped camps in Bangladesh.
And in a move likely to anger China, officials from the U.S. and Taiwan, the
island claimed by Beijing as its own territory, held a virtual meeting Sunday
to discuss ways of increasing Taiwan's international participation,
particularly in the World Health Organization from which it is excluded at