Global COVID-19 cases surpass 1.5 million

New York:  Global confirmed COVID-19 cases surpassed 1.5 million on Wednesday afternoon local time, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
The fresh figure reached 1,500,830 as of 5.15 p.m. (2115 GMT) with 87,706 deaths, the CSSE said, reported Xinhua news agency.
 New York’s battle on the mountaintop against coronavirus is raging, its death toll rose by a record number for a second consecutive day, hospitalisations are slowing and its curve is flattening as a result of social distancing efforts but 40 per cent of tests are still coming out positive in this US hotspot that has been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
New York reported 779 deaths, a record number for the second consecutive day as the state experiences its peak death week. There’s still a significant amount of disease there and everyone needs to continue to follow the guidelines, White House coronavirus co-ordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said at a briefing Wednesday.
Birx said that the New York metro area which includes northern New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island is still seeing 11,000 new cases per day and the positivity tests are in the 40 per cent range.
France said Wednesday it would extend a lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus as the death toll soared across Europe and the US as experts warned the looming global recession could be the worst in decades.
Governments are grappling with how to balance public safety against the devastating economic impact of stay-at-home orders that have erased millions of jobs in a matter of weeks.
More than 80,000 people worldwide have died in the virus crisis, which has sent the global economy spiralling and forced billions of people to remain at home as much as possible.
As the economic downturn starts to bite, health experts stressed that any premature loosening of restrictions could accelerate the spread of a contagion that has already infiltrated nearly every country.