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Global cases pass 500,000 and the Pope delivers a special blessing - Saturday's coronavirus round-up


March. 28, 2020

As coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, here are some of the latest headlines and resources to help you arm yourself with the best information.
COVID-19’s impact around the globe
Globally, confirmed cases reach 590,594. Total number of those who have recovered is 130,865. 201 cases have been reported in countries and territories across the globe. Deaths in Italy rise by 900 in one day, surpassing past daily hikes. US passes $2 trillion bailout , the largest in the country's history. The UK offers financial help to the self-employed.
How New York City is coping as the US epicentre for coronavirus New York City, with 26,000 cases, has been hard hit by the virus. Its once noisy, crowded streets are now silenced and emptied. A state of emergency has been declared meaning all non-essential businesses have been forced to close. A food delivery program, GetFoodNYC, has been established for people for the food-insecure and schools have gone virtual. Read more here.
Pope Francis delivers a special global blessing On the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica, over an emptied square, the Pope delivered the Urbi et orbi, a special global blessing typically given just at Christmas or Easter. In his address, the Catholic Reporter said, was a call to live differently. "We find ourselves afraid and lost," he said, "caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other." Read more here.
"We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together." —Pope Francis
WHO official: Ask these questions to put numbers into context At Friday's World Health Organization (WHO) briefing, officials shared how to process the daily onslaught of infection rates and mortality statistics. Michael J. Ryan, Chief Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme cautioned against reacting at raw daily numbers which can be “very, very unhelpful", saying context was crucial to understanding what new infection or mortality numbers really meant.
“What is the number of cases as a proportion of the population? What is the number of tests as a proportion of the whole population? What’s the positivity rate of tests? How many tests have been done and of them, how many are positive?” Questions like those, said Ryan, provide a better understanding of the impact of the disease and the effort being made by public health authorities. Read more here.
To fight a US recession, look to infrastructure spending Given the likely downturn, investing in US infrastructure sector could help revive the economy. Investment in much-needed 5G cellular infrastructure will allow for faster data rates while an improved electric grid could accommodate electric cars and modernized roads that reduce congestion and commute times. Read more here .
How a global group of hackers are fighting coronavirus-related hacking Hundreds of hackers are tackling what experts believe to be unprecedented levels of phishing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The group is combating hacks against medical facilities and other frontline responders. It is also tackling attacks that use the fear of COVID-19 or the desire for information on it to trick regular users. Read more here.
Have you read? Coping with COVID if you're blind, and other stories in our new podcast Avoiding blame and other ways people can help fight coronavirus - Today's COVID-19 WHO Briefing Coronavirus: An economist’s view of the epidemiological curve
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