Could United States become the next epicentre of COVID-19?

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Mar 24, 2020, 05.33 PM(IST) Edited By: Bharat Sharma

Italy Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Out of the new cases recorded in the last 24 hours, 85 per cent came from Europe and the United States

With the number of coronavirus cases rising rapidly, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the United States could become the next epicentre of the pandemic.

“A very large acceleration” in the number of coronavirus cases has been recorded recently.

Out of the new cases recorded in the last 24 hours, 85 per cent came from Europe and the United States. Out of these, 40 per cent cases alone came from the US.

Also read: World staring at another epidemic? Man dies from hantavirus in China

Margaret Harris, a doctor working with the WHO said that the US has “the potential” to become the next epicentre if the cases continue to rise at the same rate.

“... They [the US] have a very large outbreak and an outbreak that is increasing in intensity,” she told reporters during a briefing.

As of figures from today, more than 380,000 cases have been registered worldwide. Additionally, over 16,500 have died. The global tally of the recovered patients so far stands at 100,000.

The United States currently accounts for more than 46,000 infections, with over 530 deaths, and is expected to overtake Italy, the current epicentre soon in terms of recorded positive cases.

In fact, many researchers believe that the United States could overtake even China’s numbers. Over 82,000 infections were recorded in China.

The United States President Donald Trump recently admitted that they were facing difficulties in the procurement of healthcare supplies in the midst of the pandemic.

“The world market is crazy”, iterated the president while adding that the process of procuring face masks and ventilators has not been easy.

He additionally reaffirmed his commitment to reopening business in the coming weeks. According to him, prolonged closures of services and borders could kill more people than the pandemic itself.

Also read: Couple self-medicates with chloroquine against coronavirus in US, man dies

“We can’t have the cure be worse than the problem,” Mr Trump told reporters at a briefing Monday.

 “We have to open our country because that causes problems that, in my opinion, could be far bigger problems”, he added.

The United States healthcare system is not equipped to deal with a spike in the number of cases. Experts have continuously asserted the need for social distance and self-isolation, with no vaccine or cure in sight.

“Life is fragile, and economies are fragile,” Mr Trump said, while claiming that he will protect both.

Also read: Taiwan says WHO ignored its coronavirus questions at start of outbreak

If economic closures extended for over a month, there would be “probably more death from that than anything that we’re talking about with respect to the virus”, the president said.

He also said that the warnings of limiting social contact shall be withdrawn in weeks, not months. “I’m not looking at months, I can tell you right now.”

Additionally, he requested the states with less cases to resume work while the hard-hit states should focus on enforcing precautionary measures.

(With inputs from agencies)