Despite grim death toll in the United States for Tuesday – 1858 in total, including 806 in New York – White House task force officials said on Wednesday evening that isolation measures are working and that the death toll might not be as high as the 100,000 and 240,000 feared.
Dr. Deborah Birx, US coordinator of the response to the virus, said: “We have carefully studied Italy and Spain and in many cases we are doing much better than many other countries and we are trying to understand this. We think our health care delivery system in the United States is quite extraordinary. “
More than 88,538 people have died worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University tracker. The number of confirmed infections is approaching 1.5 million, although it appears to be much higher due to underreporting by some countries.
Official British figures show that 938 more people died in hospitals, bringing the total to 7,097, although the true death toll is likely to be significantly higher.
At the White House briefing on Wednesday, Trump also responded to reports that US intelligence officials had warned his office as early as November that a coronavirus was spreading in China’s Hubei region. According to American media ABC News, an army National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI) report said it could be “a cataclysmic event” and would threaten US forces in Asia.
Trump said, “When I learned the gravity of [the outbreak] was some time just before closing the country to China. So I’m not sure, but I would like to see the information. “
Trump placed restrictions on travelers from China on February 2 and declared an emergency only in March.
Meanwhile, a growing feud between Taiwan and the World Health Organization (WHO) has seen figures publicly exchanging accusations in recent days.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday that he had been subjected to months of attacks, including racist attacks against him and the black communities, and accused Taiwan of tolerating the “campaign” .
“This attack came from Taiwan,” said Tedros. “Taiwan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, they know the campaign and do not dissociate.
“They even started to criticize me in the midst of all these insults and insults.”
Taiwan’s foreign ministry on Thursday asked for clarification and an apology for what it called a “baseless” charge and “an extremely irresponsible act of slander.” He said the government did not condone or encourage in any way the personal attacks on Tedros.
“Taiwan’s 23 million people also face severe discrimination from the global health care system,” said the ministry. “We can tell [to D. Tedros] and we condemn all forms of discrimination and injustice. “
The feud stems in large part from Taiwan’s continued exclusion from membership of WHO and its activities due to lobbying by the Chinese government, which claims Taiwan as its territory.
Taiwan has had extraordinary success in preventing a major epidemic, and the island’s government has repeatedly complained that it is excluded from coordinating the global response. Last month, a video went viral from a senior WHO adviser who appeared to hang up on a Hong Kong reporter who asked about Taiwan’s response efforts and about joining WHO.
WHO and Tedros have been criticized for being overly respectful of China during the pandemic, which sought to suppress information in the first weeks.
China has reported a slight increase in new cases of coronavirus for the second day in a row, as the number of infections involving foreign travelers from abroad peaked at two weeks ago. On Wednesday, the National Health Commission reported 63 new confirmed cases, against 62 the day before. Of these, 61 were overseas arrivals, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in China to 81,865.
CCTV, a public agency, said that the border crossing points between China and Russia had been temporarily closed after dozens of Chinese citizens returned to China in recent days carrying the virus. The northernmost province of Heilongjiang reported 87 imported cases, 84 of which came from Russia.
The city of Suifenhe, which is home to 70,000 people, is believed to have introduced Wuhan-style foreclosure measures as of Wednesday, including restrictions on the number of people who can leave their homes to buy basic necessities.
In other developments:
- Boris Johnson spent a third night in intensive care, but on Wednesday, he was sitting in bed and “engaging positively” with the clinical team, said Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Doctors in Pakistan warned of “deplorable” conditions on the front lines of the epidemic, describing the pandemic as untreatable in one region and accusing the police of brutally cracking down on protests against working conditions.
Oxfam has warned that the coronavirus could plunge half a billion people into poverty unless urgent action is taken to bail out poor countries affected by the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Concerns about a possible epidemic in Yemen, where no case has been reported so far, are partly behind the decision to suspend military action in this country, which has left tens of thousands of dead and spread hunger and disease, said a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition. , Said Colonel Turki al-Malki.
Italy recorded 542 new deaths, but the rate has slowed slightly. The number of people infected increased by 1,195, or 1.3%. There was also a record daily increase – 2,099 – in the number of people who survived.
The World Trade Organization predicts a decline in world trade of up to a third. The suffering caused by the pandemic will be exacerbated by “inevitable declines in trade and production,” said the director general of the WTO.