COVID-19’s Grim Tally Continues to Rise

The worldwide number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb, bringing misery and pain to all echelons of society.The global count of cases has reached more than 2.8 million people, and more than 197,000 people have died.There have been a growing number of coronavirus cases aboard an Italian cruise ship docked in Japan with a crew but no passengers.  The Costa Atlantica had been headed to China for repairs but was diverted to Nagasaki earlier this year.Crew members were told to stay aboard the ship but media reports say some of them were spotted in Nagasaki.Local officials say at least 91 crew members, many of them asymptomatic, have tested positive for the virus. One has been hospitalized.In Europe, Spain has more than 219,000 coronavirus cases and more than 22,500 deaths, followed by Italy with more than 192,000 cases and almost 26,000 deaths.A nurse wearing a face mask writes down a telephone message from a deceased patient’s family member, to be put in the victim’s coffin, in Corsica on April 23, 2020.Several European countries have seen a decrease in new cases and are preparing to gradually reopen businesses and ease restrictions.The number of U.S. infections is creeping up to a million with more than 905,000 cases and nearly 52,000 deaths. Despite the rising tally, several states took steps Friday to reopen their economies, with Georgia and Oklahoma allowing salons, spas and barbershops to reopen. Some business owners said it was too early to open and doing so could spark a new surge in coronavirus infections, despite facing financial collapse if they do not.The U.S. Congressional Budget Office says the economic hardship caused by the coronavirus in the United States will last through next year, as the pandemic wreaks havoc on the financial health of countries around the world.The nonpartisan agency said the U.S. budget deficit will grow from $1 trillion to $3.7 trillion this year and said the unemployment rate would rise from 3.5 percent in February to 16 percent in September. It predicted that unemployment would fall after that time but would remain in double digits through 2021.The report puts pressure on the U.S. government as it tries to balance the concerns over the growing federal deficit with the approval of stimulus money meant to combat the outbreak’s economic effects.A woman wears a face mask to protect herself from COVID-19 as she walks past a painting in Hong Kong, April 25, 2020.On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a $484 billion relief package to extend additional support for small business loans and to help hospitals expand COVID-19 testing. The money is part of more than $3 trillion the U.S. government has spent to boost the economy.Earlier Friday, the G-20 called on “all countries, international organizations, the private sector, philanthropic institutions, and individuals” to contribute to its funding efforts to fight COVID-19, setting an $8 billion goal.An international forum for the governments and central bank governors of 19 nations and the European Union said Friday the G-20 already has raised $1.9 billion. Saudi Arabia, the current holder of the G-20 presidency, contributed $500 million.With no proven remedy for the coronavirus, health officials worldwide are recommending protective measures such as hygiene, social distancing and wearing masks and gloves. But people in many places are growing tired of restrictions, even as the number of cases grows.The coronavirus has had a devastating effect on the global economy, but the International Monetary Fund and other organizations warn that developing countries will be the worst hit.The United Nations food agency projects that some 265 million people could experience acute hunger this year, twice as many as last year. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on governments to ensure health care is available to all people and that economic aid packages help those most affected.   

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