US braces for more virus deaths; Italy, Spain express hope crisis peaking - GulfToday

US braces for more virus deaths; Italy, Spain express hope crisis peaking


Medical staff in a protective suit treats a patient suffering from coronavirus in Cremona, Italy. File/Reuters

The US warned of many more coronavirus deaths in the days ahead as the global pandemic muted traditional observances from family grave-cleaning ceremonies in China to Palm Sunday for many Christians.


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Italy and Spain, the two hardest-hit European nations, expressed hope that the crisis was peaking in their countries, though Italian officials said the emergency is far from over as infections have plateaued but not started to decline.

A chaotic scramble for desperately needed medical equipment and protective gear engulfed the United States, prompting intense squabbling between the states and federal government at a moment the nation is facing one of its gravest emergencies.

The One World Trade Center is illuminated for the ongoing effort to combat coronavirus in New York. File/Reuters

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised China for facilitating a shipment of 1,000 ventilators, as President Donald Trump said states are making inflated requests for supplies and suggested he had a hand in the shipment. Cuomo acknowledged asking the White House and others for help negotiating the ventilators.

"We have given the governor of New York more than anybody has ever been given in a long time,” Trump told reporters in Washington.

Trump warned Saturday that the country could be headed into its toughest weeks, but also said he’s eager to get it reopened and its stalled economy back on track.

"There will be a lot of death, unfortunately,” the American president said in a somber start to his daily briefing on the pandemic. "There will be death.”

People wait for their flight as they wear protective mask against coronavirus at the airport in Malaga, Spain. File/Reuters

The number of confirmed infections topped 1.2 million globally, and the death toll neared 65,000, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms such as fever and cough in most patients, who recover within a few weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness such as pneumonia and death.

The number of people infected in the US has soared to more than 300,000 as the fatalities climbed past 8,400. Many of the victims are in New York City, but the outbreak is deepening elsewhere too. More than 400 people have died in Louisiana, where state authorities have been sprinting to find ventilators. Michigan has more than 14,000 infections and 500 deaths, mainly in Detroit.

New infections have slowed in Italy, with 4,805 new cases registered Saturday to bring its official count to 124,632. The death toll, the highest in the world, rose to 15,362.

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