WHO says the U.S. could become the next coronavirus epicenter

According to WHO, a third of the newest coronavirus cases worldwide are in the United States.

In the past day, about a thirdof all new confirmed coronaviruscases were in the United States, according to theWorld Health Organization.

WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris told reporters Tuesday morning that 85 percent of the previous day’snew confirmed cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, were in the United States or Europe. And 40 percent of those cases were reported in the US.

Even as President Donald Trump has begun publicly considering relaxing social distancing guidelines and restarting the economy, Harris warned that the “very large acceleration” in new cases could make the United States the new epicenter for the global pandemic.

The US “has a very large outbreak and an outbreak that is increasing in intensity,” she said, according to a Reuters report.

As of March 24, there have been more than 42,000 infections reported in the US, resulting in 591 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker. Part of the reason for the jump in cases in the US is due to increased testing capacity, which Harris praised Tuesday. But those case numbers likely don’t reflect the full scope of the outbreak here, as US testing rates still lag behind other developed countries. Andpart of what worries health officials is the substantial acceleration in deaths resulting from the virus.

The virus was first reported in the US on January 20, and it took until March 17 to report the first 100 deaths. But that number has skyrocketed over the past week, and US states reported more than 100 Covid-19-related deaths on Monday alone, marking the first time the death count reached 100 in a single day in the US.

Up until this point, Europe was considered the epicenter for the virus, with Italy being the primary source of both new cases and deaths. Deaths in the country have begun to slow there recently. “There is a glimmer of hope there,” said Harris about Italy. “We’ve seen in the last two days fewer new cases and deaths in Italy but it’s very, very early days yet.”

Despite ominous warnings from Harris and other public health experts about an explosion of new cases in the US — even as states have issuedsocial distancing orders — Trump has signaled in recent days that he is considering lifting the restrictions to get the economy going again.

Source: VOX.COM



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