Over 1 million Covid-19 infections worldwide
Over 1.2 million people in 204 countries and territories have been tested positive for Covid-19 worldwide as of April 6. More than 52,000 have died from the disease since the outbreak of the pandemic in China last year. Pandemic experts believe that the actual number is likely higher given that many cases are not reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). Many countries have yet to conduct mass testings (including the Philippines and some countries in Africa). There are also some countries believed to be hiding their actual infection toll.
By the last week of March, more than two billion have been quarantined and are staying at home to implement social distancing to contain the virus. Factories and mass transportation have been shut down. International travel and mass assemblies were also prohibited. The most restrictive lockdowns were implemented in China, India, France, Italy, New Zealand, Poland and UK.
The centers of capitalism have been hit hard by the pandemic. The highest number of infections (366,906) were recorded in the US where more 10,868 have died as of April 6. New York City is considered the epicenter of Covid-19 with 4,758 deaths and 131,239 infections. This is despite the US government’s implementation of a strict travel ban to and from China, and quarantine measures for those who came from the latter. On March 13, Trump declared a national emergency and allocated $50 billion to contain the virus and mitigate its socioeconomic impact. Majority of its states implemented voluntary quarantine measures.
Like many other countries, US hospitals and clinic suffer from shortages in ventilators, masks and other personal protective equipment. Its hospitals have become congested and morgues could not keep up with the number of dead.
In Europe, 626,140 infections and 33,498 deaths were recorded as of April 6. Countries hardest hit in the continent include Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The death toll in Germany is relatively low (1,810), although its infection toll has reached 103,374. Experts attributed this to the mass testing promptly conducted by the German government, wherein 500,000 were tested weekly, and its preparation of facilities for patients with severe cases of infection. Aside from UK and Italy, majority of countries across Europe implemented voluntary quarantine measures.
In China, 81,708 infections and 3,331 deaths were recorded. Infections are also high in Iran, Turkey and Canada. By April, the number of infections in Brazil and other countries in Latin America started to increase. As of April 6, the Philippines recorded 3,660 infections and 163 deaths.
According to WHO, the infection fatality ratio is currently at 3%. The infection poses a high risk to the elderly (60 years old and above) and those with cardiovascular complications and diabetes.
While governments are struggling to grapple with the health crisis, they are concurrently facing threats of socio-economic deterioration and the loss of livelihood in their respective countries. Unions in Europe projects that over one million jobs will be lost due to the closure of factories, schools and businesses, and the ban on mass assemblies. This is lower than the 10 million jobs lost in the US, 6.6 million of which were lost during the last two weeks of March.