Global cases of the novel coronavirus surpassed 5 million this week, nearly five months after the first infection was reported in Wuhan, China. The virus has now spread to more people in under six months than the total number of severe flu cases each year, which is estimated to infect about 3 million to 5 million globally, according to WHO. Latin America recently overtook the U.S. and Europe in having the largest portion of new cases each day. Brazil has surpassed Germany, France and the U.K. to become the third-largest outbreak in the world. Read more.
Doctors raise alarm about other health effects during coronavirus shutdown
In a letter sent to President Donald Trump, more than 600 doctors pushed him to end the “national shutdown” aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. They called it a “mass casualty incident” with “exponentially growing health consequences.” The letter outlines consequences that the doctors have seen resulting from the shutdown, including patients missing routine checkups that could detect things like heart problems or cancer, increases in substance and alcohol abuse and increases in financial instability. Read more.
CDC: Coronavirus “does not spread easily” from touching contaminated surfaces
The CDC has changed its analysis on how the novel coronavirus spreads. It now says that the coronavirus “does not spread easily” from touching contaminated surfaces and objects, and then touching one’s face, although it is still possible. Other ways the virus appears to not easily spread is from animals to people and from people to animals, according to the CDC. The CDC website now states, “COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads. It may be possible for COVID-19 to spread in other ways, but these are not thought to be the main ways the virus spreads.” Read more.
Fed officials concerned about pandemic’s lasting economic damage
Central bank officials met in late April and notes from the gathering were released this week. The minutes from the meeting show officials share concern over the economy’s future. They said that the pandemic posed “considerable risk to the economic outlook” over the medium term. According to the minutes, “participants expressed concern that the possibility of secondary outbreaks of the virus may cause businesses for some time to be reluctant to engage in new projects, rehire workers or make new capital expenditures.” Read more.
Ford suspends production at two reopened plants due to coronavirus outbreaks
Ford Motor, which restarted its North American assembly plants this week, has suspended production temporarily at two plants in Chicago, IL, and Dearborn, MI, after employees tested positive for the coronavirus. Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler all began restarting their plants this week in the U.S. and Canada after keeping them idled for 60 days. They have modified shift schedules, placed barriers between employees, required the use of masks and taken other steps to reduce contact between workers. Read more.