1 Apr 2020

Covid-19: Updates from around the world

1:07 pm on 1 April 2020

President Donald Trump and his top healthcare advisers urged Americans to follow strict social distancing measures ahead of a "tough two weeks".

US President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus at the White House on 31  March 2020

US President Donald Trump warned the next two weeks would be "very painful". Photo: AFP

The US death toll from the coronavirus has climbed past 3600, eclipsing China's official count and Hard-hit New York City rushed to bring in more medical professionals and ambulances and parked refrigerated morgue trucks on the streets to collect the dead.

Trump said the next two weeks would be "very, very painful."

He said the projected numbers of coronavirus deaths were "sobering", especially as 100,000 is a "minimum number".

White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx displayed charts demonstrating data and modelling that showed an enormous jump in deaths to 100,000 to 200,000 people from the virus in the coming two weeks.

"There's no magic bullet. There's no magic vaccine or therapy. It's just behaviours: Each of our behaviours translating into something that changes the course of this viral pandemic over the next 30 days," Birx told reporters, predicting a peak in deaths in the coming two weeks.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, reiterated that the task force would "do everything we can to get it even significantly below that".

"We're doing everything we can," he said.

- Reuters / BBC

Britain: 13yo boy dies with coronavirus

A 13-year-old boy who tested positive for coronavirus has died, King's College Hospital Trust in London said.

Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, from Brixton in south London, died in hospital early on Monday. He is thought to be the youngest person to have died with the virus in the UK.

The number of deaths from Covid-19 in the UK deaths was 1789 as of Monday evening.

It is was rare for teenagers to become seriously ill after being infected with coronavirus, the BBC reported, with a rate of two fatalities in every 30,000 infections among this age group.


US Navy captain pleads for help over outbreak

The captain of a US aircraft carrier carrying more than 4,000 crew has called for urgent help to halt a coronavirus outbreak on his ship.

Scores of people on board the Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for the infection. The carrier is currently docked in Guam.

"We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die," Captain Brett Crozier wrote in a letter to the Pentagon dated 30 March.

Captain Crozier warned the coronavirus' spread was now "ongoing and accelerating" and recommended quarantining almost the entire crew.

With large numbers of sailors living in confined spaces on the carrier isolating sick individuals was impossible, he said.

"Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed US nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure. This is a necessary risk."

It is not clear how many crew members have Covid-19. The San Francisco Chronicle, which first reported on the letter, said at least 100 sailors were infected.

Speaking to Reuters, a US Navy spokesman said the service was "moving quickly to take all necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of the crew of USS Theodore Roosevelt".

- BBC / Reuters

Loss of taste, smell key Covid-19 symptoms - UK study

Losing your sense of smell and taste may be the best way to tell if you have Covid-19, according to a study of data collected via a symptom tracker app developed by British scientists.

Almost 60 percent of patients who were subsequently confirmed as positive for Covid-19 had reported losing their sense of smell and taste, the data analysed by the researchers showed.

That compared with 18 percent of those who tested negative.

These results, which were posted online but not peer-reviewed, were much stronger in predicting a positive Covid-19 diagnosis than self-reported fever, the researchers at King's College London said.

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