Global death toll nears 100,000, United Nations chief warns of global threat to peace and security


The Atlantic Council’s Coronavirus Alert is a regular summary of policy, economic, and business events around the emergency. To stay updated, sign up to the Coronavirus Alert here.

In top stories today:

  • As the global death toll from coronavirus approaches 100,000, the Easter weekend is marked by continuing lockdowns and virtual acts of worship. The pandemic is a threat to international peace and security, the United Nations’ secretary general warned. Europe finance chiefs finally agreed on a stimulus package, but tensions remain over pooled debt arrangements.
  • QUOTE: “[T]he virus does not take a holiday, therefore none of us can relax what we do,” said Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt, ABC News reported. “This, in many ways, is the most important weekend we may face in the whole course of the virus.”
  • United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned the UN Security Council that the pandemic is a threat to international peace and security, the Associated Press reported, citing a UN spokesman. Risks range from the crisis hindering attempts to resolve conflicts to terrorist attacks, Guterres told a closed meeting of the Security Council, the UN’s most powerful body, AP reported, adding that the Security Council has made no statement about the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The three-hour meeting of the fifteen-member council was held by videoconference and did not appear on the UN’s public website, The New York Times reported. But diplomats who took part said the meeting being held was progress compared with a week ago, when disputes between the United States and China stopped the council from even talking about the pandemic, the newspaper added.
  • The administration of US President Donald J. Trump is pushing for much of the United States to reopen by May 1, causing health experts to voice concern that dropping restrictions too soon may lead to a resurgence of coronavirus cases, The Washington Post reported. Guidance on federal restrictions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expires on April 30 but the White House can’t open the country unilaterally, as state officials apply the guidance, the newspaper said.
  • The state of New York posted its lowest level of hospitalizations even as the daily death toll was the highest since the coronavirus outbreak began, Bloomberg reported. California had the first decrease in daily intensive-care (ICU) hospitalizations since the start of the outbreak, the Associated Press reported.
  • The coronavirus news from Europe was mixed. The daily rise in deaths eased again on April 10 in Spain, where 605 deaths took the total to 15,843, CNBC reported. But the number of new cases in Germany jumped by more than 5,000 in the past twenty-four hours and Russia posted a spike in infections too, CNBC said. The increase of almost 1,800 takes the number of confirmed cases in Russia to more than 11,900.
  • The statistics say… New York State recorded 799 deaths and 200 hospitalizations in the past twenty-four hours. New cases increased by 7.1 percent to 159,937, higher than the reported infections in both Italy and Spain. In New Jersey cases rose by 7.6 percent to 51,207, the fifth day in a row of increases of 10 percent or less, according to Bloomberg.
  • California Governor Gavin Newsom said April 9 that ICU admissions fell by 1.9 percent to 1,132 on the previous day, AP reported. The death toll in the United States stands at 16,686 compared with Spain’s 15,447 and 18,279 in Italy, the highest of any country, The Wall Street Journal said, citing John Hopkins University.
  • QUOTE:  “We’ve lost over 7,000 lives to this crisis,” said New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, The New York Times reported. “That is so shocking and painful and breathtaking, I don’t even have the words for it.”
  • New York started to bury its unclaimed dead in the potter’s field on Hart Island in the Bronx, The New York Times reported.
  • READ MORE: “There has been talk that authoritarian governments might be best suited to enforce lockdowns and restrict movement, but the initial data from Africa suggests that democracies can do so efficiently too,” writes the Atlantic Council’s Luke Tyburski.
  • READ MORE: “Will nation-states remain relevant in what comes next, or will the tension between globalism—that was present before COVID-19—and the realpolitik that is COVID-19, result in something different than nation-states?” writes the Atlantic Council’s David Bray.


  • Doctors in settings from a small rural hospital in Georgia to an emergency department in Manhattan are using expensive computed tomography (CT) scans to check for coronavirus infections, showing how a shortage of testing facilities has stretched the US health system, Bloomberg reported. Health workers in China turned to CT scans in February, leading to thousands of new cases being reported, the newswire also said.
  • Germany will carry out the first widespread antibody tests in Europe for coronavirus to help researchers monitor the spread of the virus, the Financial Times reported.
  • Biotech and pharmaceutical companies are focusing on dozens of pathways to a vaccine or a treatment for coronavirus, news agency Stat reported. Among them is a receptor called ACE2. Apeiron Biologics of Austria is trying to confuse the virus by offering it more of the receptor to bind with, whereas Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Vir Biotechnology are offering it less ACE2 on the premise that the virus will struggle to take hold in the body that way, Stat reported.
  • Too little too late? That’s the fear about government measures in Japan, where an outbreak of coronavirus is spreading quickly, Reuters reported. Tokyo’s governor asked some businesses to shut up shop while the ancient capital of Kyoto told tourists to stay away, the newswire said. Cases rose to 5,548 in Japan on April 9, with 108 deaths, Reuters cited NHK as saying. More than a quarter of cases are in Tokyo, adding to concerns about a sluggish response to slow the spread of the virus, Reuters said.


  • Finance leaders in Europe agreed on a 500 billion euro economic stimulus package but failed to reach consensus on how to pay for the economic construction that will be needed after the crisis has passed, the Financial Times reported.
  • Further challenges later? UBS, the world’s largest asset manager, and its crosstown rival Credit Suisse will hold back part of their 2019 dividends until the second half, an acknowledgement that the real test for the financial system will come later, Bloomberg reported.
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, hospitalized on April 5 after suffering with persistent coronavirus symptoms, has left intensive care and is now on a general ward, Sky News reported. It’s too early to say how long Johnson, fifty-five, will stay in hospital, a spokesman said, Sky reported.



  • Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, still damaged from the fire that struck in April 2019, will hold a live-streamed Easter service with no congregation, the Associated Press reported.
  • Google searches for “prayer” were the highest last month than any time in the past five years, Bloomberg cited a Danish researcher as finding. The newswire publishes a feature article: “American Worship in the Time of Pandemic” as coronavirus has closed most of the country’s 350,000 churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, and shrines.
  • A handful of holdout churches in the United States, from Louisiana to Idaho and California, are celebrating in-person services despite health officials’ warnings against large gatherings during the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported.
  • QUOTE:  “Satan and a virus will not stop us,” the Reverend Tony Spell, forty-two, pastor of the evangelical Life Tabernacle Church near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who expects a congregation of 2,000 on Easter Sunday, told Reuters in an interview. “God will shield us from all harm and sickness.”  


  • We are sailing? Not for a few months yet. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended its bar on travel by cruise ship for another 100 days, Bloomberg reported.
  • Boeing may cut its workforce of 160,000 by about 10 percent including by early retirement and involuntary layoffs, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified people. The plane maker, facing turmoil in the global airline industry, hasn’t said yet whether it will seek government loans that are part of a $2 trillion economic stimulus package, the newspaper added.
  • Airbus has postponed plans to create an assembly line in Toulouse, France for its A321 single-aisle airliner as the plane maker contends with the coronavirus crisis, Reuters reported. Airbus set out plans for Toulouse in January as record demand for the jet put a strain on its production facility in Hamburg, Germany, the newswire said.  
  • QUOTE:  “The main failures we have seen in the coronavirus response have not been caused by excessive confidence in experts,” Michael Gerson wrote in The Washington Post. “The experts have earned our trust. And continued progress depends on believing them.”