Coronavirus cases near 1 million; “jaw-dropping” US joblessness


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The number of coronavirus cases approached 1 million worldwide, with another record day of deaths in Spain and an extension to lockdown restrictions in the United States. “Jaw-dropping” jobless claims numbers were released in the United States on April 2 even after last week’s record increase.


There are now about 950,000 cases worldwide in 180 countries and territories; more than 48,000 people have died. 

QUOTE: “I’ve said this 100 different ways, but compliance is still not where it should be,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, announcing the closure of playgrounds in New York City, The Wall Street Journal reported. “So, we’re going to take more dramatic actions.” 


  • Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Nevada, and Pennsylvania issued state-wide orders for residents to stay at home, The Wall Street Journal reported. Some 884 more people died in one day from coronavirus in the United States, a slight drop on the record tally of 895 in the previous twenty-four hours, the newspaper said. Confirmed cases in the United States have now exceeded 200,000, the Journal reported.
  • US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, making a U-turn, has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to look into whether face masks can help prevent the spread of coronavirus after all, CNBC reported. “Coronavirus Battle Creates a Global ‘Free-for-All’ to Find Masks” reads a headline in The New York Times, while The Wall Street Journal runs a story about China’s provision of medical equipment to countries including Italy—making sure that everybody knows about it. Taiwan, in a move that will probably anger China, has pledged to donate 10 million face masks to the United States and European Union countries, the Financial Times reported.
  • At least 2,700 sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt where coronavirus has spread will be removed from the aircraft carrier by April 3, the Associated Press reported. Fewer than 100 of the 5,000 sailors aboard the ship, which is now docked in Guam, have tested positive for the virus, AP said.  
  • China concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak, both the number of cases and deaths, US intelligence concluded in a classified report to the White House, Bloomberg reported, citing three unidentified US officials. The Associated Press runs a story with the headline: “What’s known and not known about China’s numbers.” Those figures seem to be “a little bit on the light side,” US President Donald J. Trump said in his April 1 press briefing, while his national security advisor said there was no way of judging the accuracy or otherwise of statistics from Beijing, Reuters reported.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus, promised to speed up testing for the virus following criticism of his government for being slower than some European countries in mass-testing of frontline health workers, Reuters reported. The government admitted on April 1 that only 2,000 of 500,000 frontline workers for the National Health Service have been tested so far, the Financial Times reported.
  • Germany has been testing about 500,000 people a week, compared with the UK’s current capacity of 13,000 a day, a figure the government aims to double by mid-April, Reuters said. CNBC outlined the UK media’s scathing response to the low test numbers, ranging from “Shambles” (Daily Mirror) to “Questions without answers” (Daily Telegraph).
  • “While political leaders have locked their borders, scientists have been shattering theirs, creating a global collaboration unlike any in history,” The New York Times says. White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said April 1 that coronavirus vaccine testing is on target, with public distribution still forecast to be in twelve to eighteen months from now, CNBC reported. US health officials have fast-tracked work with Moderna, a biotech company, to develop a vaccine, with the first human trials on a potential vaccine starting on March 16, CNBC reported.  
  • Some seventy-four countries have joined, or are joining, medical trials trying to find treatments for coronavirus, Sky News cited World Health Organization director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as saying. There’s been an “extraordinary response,” he said, Sky reported. Australia has begun testing potential vaccines, Reuters reported.
  • The death toll in Spain from coronavirus exceeded 10,000 after 950 people died overnight, Reuters reported. Unions in at least ten of Spain’s seventeen regions have filed law suits to force authorities to provide personal protective equipment to healthcare workers, the newswire also reported.
  • Among alternative ethical guidelines to address rationing intensive-care unit beds and ventilators, a framework developed by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is gaining traction, news service Stat reported. Instead of patient groups being automatically denied access, each case is assessed on an eight-point scale that covers a patient’s “odds of making it out of the hospital, as well as whether they have certain life-limiting medical conditions,” Stat reported.

QUOTE: “On the face of it, all our current vulnerabilities seem rooted in globalisation,” Martin Sandbu writes in the Financial Times. “But if diseases spread along our trade routes, so do the knowledge and resources that can beat them back.”


  • Markets are bracing for US jobless figures, which were expected to be even worse than the record 3.3 million new claimants announced a week ago, Reuters reported. The number of unemployment claims came in at 6.65 million in the week ended March 28, led by California, Bloomberg reported. The New York Times said beforehand that the numbers were likely to be “jaw-dropping.” Investment bank Goldman Sachs estimated there would be 6 million new claimants, with numbers set to remain very high in the weeks ahead, the newswire also said. Employment numbers for March are expected before US stock markets open on April 3, CNBC said. 
  • Oil prices rose by more than 10 percent, among their sharpest rallies in recent years, amid hopes of a truce in the price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia and the possibility of intervention from the White House, The Wall Street Journal reported. President Trump will meet oil companies including Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, and Continental Resources on April 3, Bloomberg reported. Oil companies are reeling from a massive drop in oil prices that threatens to wipe out tens of thousands of jobs in the shale industry, the newswire said.
  • United Nations climate talks scheduled to take place in Glasgow in November have been postponed until next year because of coronavirus, leading to a delay to decisions about climate change commitments, the Financial Times reported.
  • Job losses in the United States and Europe have in the first weeks of the coronavirus crisis reached the levels seen in the entire financial crisis of 2007 to 2009, the Financial Times reported.
  • “So far only a few steps have been made to augment [International Monetary Fund] resources to help member countries fight the pandemic crisis,” writes The Atlantic Council’s Hung Tran. “The challenge now is to quickly deliver the help to the weak entities which need liquidity the most. After all, any system is only as strong as its weakest link.”

QUOTE: “Unemployment is rising 20 times faster than in the financial crisis,” said Danny Blanchflower, professor at Dartmouth College, the Financial Times reported. “We have never seen anything like the spread of this and it suggests [governments] should throw caution to the wind in finding a response.”    


  • Wimbledon, due to be held from June 29 to July 12, became the latest event to fall foul of the coronavirus pandemic. The grass-court tennis tournament has been cancelled, a first since World War Two, the BBC reported.
  • UK flag carrier British Airways is in negotiations with its labor union about a plan to suspend 32,000 staff so that it can survive a cratering of travel demand brought about by the coronavirus crisis, Reuters reported.

QUOTE: “This is already shaping up as the deepest dive on record for the global economy for over 100 years,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a Harvard economist and co-author of a history of financial crises, “This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly,” The New York Times reported. “Everything depends on how long it lasts, but if this goes on for a long time, it’s certainly going to be the mother of all financial crises.”


From the Atlantic Council: