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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep the globe, additional new information about the virus, its death toll, and governmental responses often arrives so rapidly it can be tough to keep track. The virus, despite its initial detection nearly three months ago, still poses many public health and safety questions that are difficult to answer, so responses to it often change at a moment’s notice. To keep yourself up to date, here’s the latest on coronavirus deaths, lockdowns, and relief.
In the past 24 hours, Spain’s COVID-19 death toll exceeded that of China, where the virus first originated and led to rapid hospitalizations and fatalities. COVID-19 has now killed 3,434 people in Spain as compared to the 3,285 deaths recorded in Hubei, China (a province with a population of just over one million people). Italy remains the country with the most deaths, with 6,820 fatalities to date. Italy may have such a large death toll because its population skews older, and the coronavirus is deadliest among older age groups.
In the United States, where COVID-19 is somewhat newer than in Spain and Italy and far newer than in China, 55,081 have so far tested positive for the new coronavirus. Of these people, 785 have died, and 379 have recovered. So far, New York is the state with by far the most cases, at 26,430. Among these cases, 271 have died. New Jersey, which has the second-largest number of cases, has reported 3,675 cases and 44 deaths. Though these numbers may seem alarming, they represent fatality rates of between one and 1.5 percent, with slight variations by region.
Public health experts have recommended social distancing and self-isolation to limit the spread of COVID-19, and in turn, governments have issued stay-at-home orders or initiated lockdowns that strictly limit where people can go and which businesses can remain open. India, which is home to over 1.3 billion people, is the latest major nation to enter a lockdown. For the next three weeks, people in India cannot leave home unless their jobs in essential services such as healthcare and law enforcement require them to. Currently, the nation only has 10 deaths among just over 500 cases.
In the U.S., many states are under lockdown or stay-at-home orders. Residents of California, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio, can only leave home for vital errands, essential jobs, and some light outdoor exercise (as long as social distancing is obeyed) near home. In some states without stay-at-home orders, certain cities have enacted stay-at-home orders of their own; for example, Philadelphia is under such an order even though Pennsylvania is not. Every U.S. state, whether or not it has issued stay-at-home orders, has imposed massive limits on public gatherings – a full list, organized by state, can be found here.
COVID-19 has plunged global economies into unprecedented danger, and governments have had to balance implementing public health and safety measures with enacting vital economic regulations. As entire industries such as restaurants and nightlife have come to a sudden, potentially irreversible halt in the wake of COVID-19, millions of people have lost their income sources, and in the U.S., Congress and the Trump administration have spent the past two weeks coming up with an economic stimulus bill to address the fallout.
Today, the Senate and the White House finally reached a deal on this stimulus bill. The $2 trillion bill is the largest relief package in U.S. history and includes $1,200 checks for all U.S. adults making up to $75,000. The bill also expands unemployment benefits by $600 per week and gives people who lost their jobs to COVID-19 four months of full pay. Additionally, the bill includes hundreds of billions of dollars in loans for small businesses, hospitals, governments, and airlines. The exact legislative text of the bill will be made public soon.
What measures would you like to see taken to battle the coronavirus pandemic? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.