Global coronavirus death toll crosses 150,000

Global coronavirus death toll crosses 150,000

WASHINGTON: The global death toll from coronavirus surged past 150,000 Friday as US President Donald Trump accused China of continuing to cover up its toll, even after Beijing revised figures sharply upward for Wuhan, the original epicenter of the global pandemic.
COVID-19 fatalities mounted in the United States and hard-hit Western Europe countries, but fresh data on rising infections and deaths in Africa showed the virus is leaving no continent uscathed in its global march.
More than half of humanity — 4.5 billion people — were confined to their homes, with evidence mounting of social distancing´s success in slowing the pandemic.
But widespread nervousness remained over when and how to ease confinement measures to revive the world economy, battered by what the International Monetary Fund has dubbed the “Great Lockdown.”
More than 2.2 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in 193 countries and territories, according to figures collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The figures probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections however, because many countries are testing only the most serious cases.
For example, a new Stanford University study testing Silicon Valley residents for viral antibodies suggested that the true number of COVID-19 infections was at least 50 times higher than the official figure.
The daily number of confirmed deaths across the globe remained high at over 8,800. Out of more than 150,000 total deaths since the outbreak erupted, the United States has recorded 36,773, Italy 22,745, Spain 19,478 and France 18,681.
Illustrating the increasing threat in countries less in focus, Africa reported its 1,000th death on Friday.
China meanwhile raised its estimate of deaths to 4,636 on Friday. That came after it increased the official toll for the city of Wuhan by 1,290 — a precise 50% — to 3,869.
Trump, who has been accused of reacting too slowly to the coronavirus threat, alleged that Beijing’s numbers were still not accurate.
“It is far higher than that and far higher than the US, not even close!” Trump tweeted.
Trump did not offer evidence, but pressure has mounted in recent days on Beijing to come clean over its handling of the original outbreak.
US media has reported suspicions that the virus came not from a Wuhan wet market as first claimed, but from a poorly managed nearby research facility studying bat-related diseases including coronaviruses.
Leaders in France and Britain have also questioned China´s management of the crisis, and French President Emmanuel Macron said it would be “naive” to think Beijing had handled the pandemic well.
Beijing hit back earlier Friday, insisting there had been no cover-up.
“There has never been any concealment, and we’ll never allow any concealment,” a foreign ministry spokesman said.

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