On March 11th, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic.
This is the first time since the swine flu was categorized as such back in mid-2009.
Italy is still the country suffering the most from the virus, with a spike in deaths and newly discovered cases on March 11th.
2,313 new cases and 196 new deaths in Italy. About 600 new cases, however, can be ascribed to the previous day’s delay in reporting.
In a televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said all shops would be closed except for supermarkets, food stores and chemists and companies must close all non-essential departments.
“Thank you to all Italians who make sacrifices. We are proving to be a great nation,” Conte said in the nine-minute broadcast.
“We will only be able to see the effects of this great effort in a couple of weeks,” he said, referring to the daily bulletins announcing the number of new cases and fatalities.
“The country needs responsibility from all of us, the responsibility of 60 million Italians that are making small and large sacrifices every day,” Conte said.
Currently, the active cases in Italy are rapidly catching up to those in China, with Italy being approximately 30 to 40 days behind.
Germany and France are approximately 9 days behind Italy, while Spain and the US are about 11 days behind.
The rapid spread in Italy, and potentially the incoming rapid spread in other European countries could simply be explained with a lack of preparation by the countries that had no experience in dealing with SARS, back in 2002-3 or with MERS, between 2012-17.
The United States suspended all travel from Europe for 30 days, with the exclusion of the UK.
Trump had said earlier: “I am fully prepared to use the full power of the Federal Government to deal with our current challenge of the CoronaVirus!”
Pence: “All the insurance companies […] have agreed to waive all copays on coronavirus testing, and extend coverage for coronavirus treatment in all of their benefit plans.”
Currently, China still has the most active cases, but also the most recovered individuals. It is trailed by Italy, Iran and South Korea. Seoul has managed to contain the rapid spread and the high levels of deaths seen in Italy by widespread testing and preemptive measures.
Europe, as a whole, and Italy, in particular appear to have failed to take any precautionary measures on time, and the full scale of that will be seen in the following days, as the incubation period of the coronavirus passes.
Currently, it is still possible and, also, necessary to reduce the rate of spread of the virus, and reduce the load on the local healthcare and economic systems all at once. A tidal wave is preferable to a tsunami. This is called “flattening the curve.”
All of this takes place amid chaos in the oil markets, as Saudi Aramco announced that it would boost oil production to 13 million barrels a day. It said that it would flood the market with 12.3 million barrels per day starting from April 2020.
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