WASHINGTON: The United States now has the third highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases after China and Italy, as the global infection figures surpassed the 300,000 mark on Sunday. Statistics collected by various monitoring agencies in Washington showed that by Sunday afternoon, the United States had a total of 38,138 confirmed cases, including 13,931 new ones.
Total critical cases also rose to 708 while 396 people have already died of this fatal respiratory disease, including 94 new deaths.
Globally, coronavirus had infected 319,675 by Sunday afternoon and caused 13,699 deaths.
The respiratory virus, known officially as Covid-19, has reached every state in America since emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December. It has also reached every continent except Antarctica.
Physicians appearing on various US television channels warned that the total number of infected people could be much higher as people with mild symptoms do not report their illness.
The physicians also said they could not over-emphasize the need for people to stay at home and wash their hands several times a day. They argued that these two precautionary measures could help prevent the disease from spreading further.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), which is leading the global fight against this deadly virus, says that almost 80 percent patients recover without external help. But the virus they carry can infect the sick and the elderly who are among the most vulnerable.
In the United States, the federal government has advised states to decide when to order people to stay at home, offering to provide them financial and administrative support if they do. So far, New York, California, Illinois and Oregon have issued stay-at-home orders.
The virus scare has affected more than 70 million people in the United States and more than a billion across the globe. In each of the 50 US states, tens of thousands of people have taken advantage of the option to stay at home.
The US Congress is working on a trillion-dollar package to give $3,000 dollars to a family of four if they opt to stay. Daily wage earners, who are among the worst affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, will be the first to receive this assistance.
Published in Dawn, March 23rd, 2020