Hair salon staff in Bruay-la-Buissière, northern France, carry out a test run of strict new distancing and hygiene measures on Friday ahead of the country allowing such businesses to reopen on Monday if they meet such requirements. Photo: Denis Charlet/AFP via Getty Images
From Austria to Australia, countries have begun to relax lockdown restrictions introduced to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The big picture: The number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb, but several countries are beating back outbreaks. The virus has killed almost 280,000 people and infected more than 4 million globally, per Johns Hopkins. With the IMF predicting the pandemic will cause global GDP to contract by 3% this year, governments are beginning to reopen economies with strict health measures in place.
Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, told reporters Monday she would have liked to have seen the U.S. introduce stricter restrictions like Italy did to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
What she's saying: "I wish that when we went into lockdown, we looked like Italy," she said. "When Italy locked down, I mean, people weren't allowed out of their houses, they couldn't come out but once every two weeks to buy groceries for one hour and they had to have a certificate that said they were allowed. Americans don't react well to that kind of prohibition."
Though health workers represent less than 3% of the population in many countries, they account for around 14% of the coronavirus cases reported to the World Health Organization, WHO announced Thursday.
Why it matters: The WHO called on governments and health care leaders to address threats facing the health and safety of these workers, adding that the pandemic has highlighted how protecting them is needed to ensure a functioning health care system.
Over the past several weeks, the coronavirus has killed Americans at six times the average rate in other rich countries. And we’re recording about eight times more infections.
Why it matters: The virus burned through the rich world like wildfire in the spring, but this new data confirms that the U.S. is one of very few wealthy countries that have failed to suppress it since then.