By Staff, AccuWeather
AccuWeather-(ENEWSPF)- The coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a halt in the early part of 2020. After emerging in China’s Hubei province in late 2019, the number of cases skyrocketed and infected more than half of a million worldwide over a four-month span with the epicenter shifting from Asia to Europe and, as of late March, the United States.
The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the outbreak a pandemic on March 11. The virus, called SARS-CoV-2, causes a disease known as COVID-19, and as the number of cases escalated, government officials took drastic measures to slow the spread, ordering various forms of travel restrictions including total lockdowns in some places.
As residents stayed shuttered indoors, major metropolitan areas from Los Angeles to New York City to Paris and Rome have transformed into ghost towns. Infectious disease experts have stressed there is much to be learned about the virus, including whether there will be a seasonal correlation to a rise or decline in confirmed infections or how weather and UV radiation can impact the spread.
Here are the latest updates, listed in eastern time, and the most important things you need to know about coronavirus.
April 2, 11:22 a.m.
CDC highlights the three underlying health conditions that put people at the greatest risk of severe COVID-19 illness. Health officials at the federal agency have provided the first look at preliminary data findings of the first 122,653 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. The key takeaway is that three underlying health conditions appear to make people more susceptible to suffering extreme symptoms from COVID-19. The CDC cautioned that the data set is preliminary, but said the analysis aligns with what is being seen in other countries. The three conditions the CDC says put people most at risk are:
April 2, 11:14 a.m.
Spain’s COVID-19 death toll soars past 10,000. Spain has been one of the hardest hit countries by the worsening pandemic with more than 110,000 confirmed cases. On Thursday, the country’s ministry of health reported 950 new fatalities. Only Italy, with over 13,000 deaths has more.
April 2, 10:07 a.m.
Sales of alcoholic beverages soar in the U.S. amid pandemic. According to Nielsen — the company known for measuring TV ratings — Americans have been hitting the bottle a lot as stay-at-home orders have become more widespread. All told, booze sales were up 55% for the week ending on March 21. Over that same period, wine sales spiked 66% and beer sales increased 42%. And quarantine life has people buying more snacks, too, Nielsen reports. Potato chip sales surged by more than 60% for the same period, ice cream sales shot up 50% and sales of chocolate were up 21%.
In related news, Ina Garten, the host of Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa, sent social media into a frenzy after she was seen on Instagram providing instructions to followers on how to make a gigantic cosmopolitan. “It’s always cocktail hour in a crisis!” she told her social media audience.
April 2, 9:33 a.m.
COVID-19’s impact on the U.S. economy continues to be seismic. Unemployment claims hit another record on Thursday, with the U.S. Department of Labor reporting a staggering 6.6 million weekly jobless claims, an increase of over 3.3 million from last week. Nearly 10 million Americans have filed for unemployment over the past two weeks, according to Labor Department figures. Prior to the recent two-week stretch, the previous record for weekly jobless claims in the U.S. was 695,000 in 1982.
April 2, 8:02 a.m.
It took only one month for the fourth-most populated state in the U.S. to eclipse China, the world’s most populated country and original epicenter of the virus, in total number of cases. With 84,046 cases, New York has seen nearly 2,000 more cases than China, as of Thursday morning. If New York were a country, it would rank fourth in the world for most cases, behind Spain, Italy and the U.S., which would still have the most confirmed cases of any country even with New York removed.
“Overall the number continue to go up. We’re still on our way up the mountain… Well, we’re a rural area – we’re not going to get it. Oh really? COVID is in upstate New York if you want to talk about rural areas,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday. “We have rural areas. And just the way it’s gone through rural New York, it will go through rural America.”
April 2, 6:46 a.m.
Just one day after moving past 4,000 deaths, the U.S. soared past 5,000 fatalities on Thursday morning. The country’s 8,672 confirmed recoveries are the fewest of any country with more than 30,000 total cases.
Here are the latest updated numbers, compiled by researchers from Johns Hopkins University:
- Total confirmed cases: 941,949
- Total deaths: 47,522
- Total recoveries: 195,929
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