The global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 50,000 on Thursday.
The number of deaths continued to soar in Italy, Spain and the United States, where hundreds of new fatalities were recorded. Johns Hopkins University in the U.S. said the worldwide death toll has reached more than 51,300, while the number of confirmed coronavirus cases is nearing 1 million.
Italy added another 760 dead to its coronavirus toll, pushing its death toll to 13,915, the most in any country. The U.S. death toll topped 5,300, but the White House in recent days said the eventual count could range from 100,000 to 240,000.
Around the globe, the impact of the coronavirus wreaked havoc on national and local governments trying to rush medical equipment to hospitals, along with workers who have been laid off by the millions as businesses end normal operations. Another 6.65 million jobless workers in the U.S. filed new claims for unemployment compensation last week, pushing the three-week total to more than 10 million.
In China, where the virus first erupted, 600,000 people in Henan province were placed on lockdown, a signal that Chinese officials feared a new outbreak.
In Los Angeles, the second biggest U.S. city, the mayor urged people to wear masks in public. U.S. health officials are considering whether to urge all Americans to follow suit, but so far have not made a national recommendation.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that anyone can be a coronavirus carrier even if they aren’t showing any symptoms.
The CDC affirmed a study from Singapore that says 10% of new cases were spread by people who showed no signs of being sick. The agency says the study reinforces the need for social distancing, staying at least two meters away from other people.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, himself in isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus, said in a video message that Britain would be “massively increasing testing” as the key to ultimately defeating the virus.
Belgium has a large number of cases relative to its size, reporting Thursday it confirmed more than 15,000 cases thus far with a surge past 1,000 deaths. With a population of 11.4 million people, Belgium sits in or near the top 10 worldwide for both figures.
In Mexico, the country’s foreign ministry urged Mexicans residing in other countries – particularly the United States – not to travel home to visit family right now due to the risk of importing cases.
Israel’s health ministry announced Thursday that its leader, Yaakov Litzman, has tested positive for coronavirus and is in isolation.
Greek officials said 119 people aboard a passenger ship have been confirmed as positive for the coronavirus.
The ferry, with 380 people on board from several countries, has been anchored outside Greece's main port of Piraeus for several days. It was chartered to house workers who were to work on a shipbuilding project in Spain.
In Paris, a portion of Europe's largest food depot is being converted into a mortuary, because the number of bodies is accumulating too fast for funeral homes to cope.
In Cyprus, a domestic abuse association said the forced seclusion brought on by the coronavirus resulted in a nearly 50% spike in family violence reports in March. The Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family said it had nearly 2,100 calls to its helpline in March, but more than half of them went unanswered because the staff was overwhelmed.