United States could become coronavirus epicenter: WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United States has the potential to become the brand new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic as a result of a “very large acceleration” in infections there, the World Health Organization mentioned on Tuesday.

A abandoned Times Square is pictured following the outbreak of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), within the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The extremely contagious respiratory virus has contaminated greater than 42,000 folks within the United States, prompting extra governors to hitch states ordering Americans to remain at house.

Over the previous 24 hours, 85 p.c of recent circumstances worldwide had been from Europe and the United States, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris advised reporters. Of these, 40 p.c had been from the United States.

Asked whether or not the United States could become the brand new epicenter, she mentioned: “We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S. So it does have that potential. We cannot say that is the case yet but it does have that potential.”

“…They (the United States) have a very large outbreak and an outbreak that is increasing in intensity,” Harris added.

However, she recognized some optimistic indicators reminiscent of extra complete testing, and additional efforts to isolate the sick and hint their instant contacts uncovered to the virus.

She additionally referred to “extremely heartwarming” tales of how Americans had been serving to one another through the disaster.

Overall, the worldwide outbreak was accelerating very quickly and he or she anticipated massive will increase in case numbers and deaths from the 334,981 circumstances and 14,652 deaths at the moment reported to WHO.

WHO’s dashboard on its web site, which tends to lag nations’ particular person tallies, confirmed that Monday had by far the largest every day rise in infections for the reason that outbreak started in December, with greater than 40,000 new circumstances.

Harris mentioned that new information had been to be anticipated every day till new confinement measures start to take impact.

Up till now, Europe has been the middle of transmission with Italy probably the most badly-hit nation with the world’s highest variety of deaths, though fatalities have begun slowing there.

Asked a few potential tipping level in Italy, she mentioned: “There is a glimmer of hope there. We’ve seen in the last two days fewer new cases and deaths in Italy but it’s very, very early days yet.”

Harris additionally voiced concern about rising case numbers in nations with weak well being programs and excessive HIV prevalence.

South Africa’s confirmed variety of coronavirus circumstances rose to 554 on Tuesday forward of a nationwide lockdown panned for 21 days from midnight on Thursday.

“South Africa is doing what needed, doing the testing and following the contacts,” she mentioned.​

Reporting by Emma Farge and Stephanie Nebehay; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Alison Williams and Philippa Fletcher

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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