Death toll in Italy surpasses China

Death toll in Italy surpasses China
Source: ABC Columbia

The number of deaths in Italy due to the coronavirus is now higher than that of China, surpassing 3,400.

China, the original epicenter of the virus, is now seeing a steep decline in the number of new cases. This is while many places in the west, including the United States, are experiencing increases.

Notably, while Italy’s death toll has surpassed that of China, China has recorded 80,928 cases since the outbreak began, while Italy has recorded only around half of that.

The mainland Chinese government’s management of the initial outbreak was previously labeled “Mao-style”. However, other governments are now following suit seeing it as “the only way to contain” the virus.  

In the last 24 hour period, Italy has recorded 427 deaths related to the virus. In Wuhan, no new cases were recorded during that time frame. In Italy, the virus is hitting the elderly population particularly hard. 87% of the country’s deaths due to the virus consist of individuals over 70.

Spotlight on treatments

As cases in the United States soar, with over 10,000 confirmed as of March 20, over 3,000 since its previous count, the Trump administration is attempting to focus on possible treatments.

At a White House news conference on Thursday, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn suggested that the malaria drug chloroquine, along with remdesivir – an experimental antiviral – could be a potential treatment for COVID-19.

However, at this time, no drug has been approved for treating the virus. Furthermore, while testing of treatments is underway, there is no guarantee that it would be successful.

At a press conference, President Trump spoke of his administration’s efforts to fight the virus, saying they “slashed red tape” to jumpstart testing and that the potential of the new drugs “could be a game changer”.

Dr. Hahn meanwhile stated that while it was important for doctors to give hope, it was also important “not to provide false hope.”

Fresh warnings

Speaking at the United Nations in New York, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the world is “at war with a virus” and warned that “a global recession, perhaps of record dimensions, is a near certainty.”

Over the past several weeks, international markets have largely nosedived as uncertainty and fear overshadowed efforts by federal banks to prevent economic collapse.

He urged all countries to take the threat of the virus seriously and ramp up efforts to fight and contain it. “If we let the virus spread like wildfire – especially in the most vulnerable regions of the world – it would kill millions of people,” he added.


Have a tip or story? Get in touch with our reporters here!