Global virus cases near one million mark

-Pandemic surges in US, Italy, France
NEW YORK: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases edged toward a million on Thursday while deaths neared 50,000, as the outbreak continued to ravage countries such as the United States, Italy, France and Spain.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General TedrosAdhanomGhebreyesus said there has been “a near exponential growth” in case numbers over the past five weeks, affecting practically every country, territory and area of the world. “As we enter the fourth month since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am deeply concerned about the rapid escalation and global spread of infection”, he stated.
“The number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week. In the next few days we will reach one million confirmed cases and 50,000 deaths.”
The total number of cases on Thursday was just below 936,000 with more than 47,000 deaths, according to WHO, a United Nations agency. On Wednesday evening, Donald Trump warned of “difficult days” for the US, saying, “We are going to have a couple of weeks, starting pretty much now, but especially a few days from now, that are going to be horrific.” Trump’s warning came as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reportedly asked US defence agencies for 100,000 body bags, for use by civilian authorities. The White House has previously said deaths could reach 240,000.
The United States has reported 213,000 confirmed cases, more than 20% of cases globally. Their death toll stands at 5,119. The rapid growth in the number of infections has overwhelmed hospitals in many cities. A week ago the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) aid there were 85,000 cases. That means recorded cases have grown by two and a half times in a week, and up from 15,219 two weeks ago. While some countries, like Australia, have drawn some solace from the fact that the vast majority of cases are in returning travellers, or their contacts, the CDC says only 2% of US cases have been identified as travel-related or connected to those travellers. Ninety-eight per cent of cases in the US were still under investigation.
Identifying asymptomatic cases of the virus in the US may prove a crucial challenge in overcoming the pandemic, including separating out patients who were not showing symptoms at the time of the test (who are classed as pre-symptomatic) from those who never get symptoms. The US CDC has warned that up to 25% of people with Covid-19 may be asymptomatic, leading the organization to consider broadening its guidelines on who should wear face masks. “Previously, the CDC and WHO have recommended that only people who are sick wear masks. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, asked citizens to wear face masks when leaving the house. In Europe, the three worst-affected countries Italy (110,000), Spain (104,000) and Germany (78,000) – represent just under a third of the confirmed cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University figures. Their combined death tolls make up 44% of fatalities worldwide.