Coronavirus deaths pass 3,000 as global threat evolves
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The total number of worldwide deaths attributed to the coronavirus has just passed 3,000. Although the vast majority of those deaths have been in China, new virus hotspots have emerged in Iran, Italy and South Korea.
Meanwhile, the United States is grappling with the prospect of increased transmission as the second death attributed to the virus in the US was confirmed in Washington State. In late February, the virus spread faster outside of China than within, and now Chinese authorities are claiming that the virus is starting to be contained in Wuhan.
Due to the drop in new patients, one of the 16 dedicated coronavirus hospitals in Wuhan was shut down early this week. On Monday, Mi Feng, a spokesman for China’s National Health Commission, stated that the government was making progress on the virus.
“The rapid rising trend of virus cases in Wuhan has been controlled. Outbreaks in Hubei outside of Wuhan are curbed and provinces outside of Hubei are showing a positive trend,” Feng said.
Iran faces tough road
Iran has seen an influx of virus cases over the past several weeks. As of Monday evening, there have been 66 deaths and 1,501 confirmed infections in the country. The virus is also affecting the highest levels of government.
According to reports, Mohammad Mirmohammadi, 71, member of the council that advises Iran’s supreme leader, succumbed to the virus. In Iran, cases more than doubled in recent days, adding to concerns that the country could be the next epicenter of the virus.
Danger to global economy real
In a tweet on Monday, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) stated that the virus “presents the [world] economy with its greatest danger since the financial crisis [of 2008], raising the risk of restrictions on movement, lower business and consumer confidence and slowing production.”
As the uncertainty mounts, the European Central Bank (ECB) became the latest financial institution to suggest it could make policy adjustments, like cutting interest rates, to help ease the burden on investors.
On Monday, the ECB said it “stands ready to adjust all its instruments, as appropriate,” echoing statements from the US Federal Reserve. Central Banks in Japan and the UK have made similar statements.
According to the OECD, The potential for substantial losses in global growth are real. If a “more intensive” outbreak manifests itself, global growth could be reduced to 1.5% in 2020, nearly half that of initial predictions.