Apr 2, 2020 - World

The month coronavirus shook the world

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It’s already hard to envision the world we lived in one month ago.

Flashback: A WHO report from March 1 shows a total of 7,169 coronavirus cases outside of China, with just seven countries having recorded even a single fatality and the total death toll under 3,000, including China.

  • The only Europeans under quarantine were residents of 10 towns in northern Italy.
  • Spectators packed into sports stadiums, friends gathered at bars, nearly everyone went to work.
  • Stock markets were reeling as forecasts of the coming storm grew darker, but life in Europe and North America went on more or less as normal.
  • The March 2 edition of this newsletter focused on the Afghan peace deal, Israel’s election and Syria’s refugee crisis. The coronavirus didn’t feature, beyond our regularly updated graphic.

Flash forward: The global case-count has now topped 1 million.

  • Spain, which hadn’t recorded a single death as of March 1, saw 4,249 over the past five days alone. Italy averages roughly as many deaths each hour as all of Europe had recorded a month ago.
  • The U.S. has three times as many cases as the entire world did on March 1, and more than 30 times the caseload outside of China at that time. Unemployment claims last week were 33 times the rate seen one month ago.
  • Countries that haven’t implemented some form of lockdown are the exception. India’s 1.4 billion people have been ordered inside. Reports or images of even small gatherings incite anger in European cities.
  • 9 in 10 children worldwide are out of school, according to UNESCO.

April is going to be far worse.

  • While daily death tolls appear to be leveling off in cities like Milan and Madrid, others like New York and London are still climbing rapidly toward terrifying peaks.
  • There are surely countries and regions that have yet to see significant outbreaks but will by May 1.

What to watch: Citizens of hard-hit countries have been offered little clarity as to when they'll be able to return to something approximating the lives they led one month ago.

  • Denmark offers a hopeful case. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen says mitigation efforts there have been effective, and the country can now consider reopening in stages after Easter (April 12).
  • The borders will remain closed to avoid importing cases, and senior citizens will be asked to continue to self-isolate, but schools and workplaces could reopen under staggered hours, to limit crowds on public transport.
  • But even places like Taiwan and Hong Kong that contained initial outbreaks remain on alert, using high-tech monitoring to enforce quarantines. Almost nowhere have schools that were closed been reopened.
  • The first wave has yet to crest in the U.S. and Europe, meanwhile, but experts are already warning of the waves to come.

The bottom line: Our way of life changed in fundamental ways in less than a month. The return to "normal" will likely take far longer.

Go deeper: Coronavirus is being used to suppress press freedoms globally

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans Tuesday to make wearing face coverings mandatory statewide for most people over the age of 10 when inside public places. The measure is effective Friday and applies to places like retailers, on public transportation and government buildings.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from the novel coronavirus and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 5,615,689 — Total deaths: 351,077 — Total recoveries — 2,307,901Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 1,681,418 — Total deaths: 98,929 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Public health: Nearly half of Americans say someone in their household has delayed medical care — New research suggests spread began in U.S. in mid-February.
  4. Tech: Zipline drones deliver masks to hospitals; vaccines could be next
  5. Business: The downsides of remote work could diminish recent gains — PPP failed to get money to industries and areas most in need.
  6. 🏒Sports: NHL unveils 24-team playoff plan to return from hiatus.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The polarized pandemic election

A Trump supporter protests Pennsylvania's stay-at-home order, during a May 15 rally outside the Capitol in Harrisburg. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President Trump is going all-in on pushing for a rapid, robust return to normal life, creating a visual, visceral contrast with Joe Biden and other Democrats who are more reticent to rip the masks off.

The state of play: Business friends have been urging Trump from the beginning to keep the lockdowns short. He's listening more and more.