Pandemic Grows: 50,000 Dead Worldwide, Half of Globe on Lockdown

Medical staff evacuate a patient infected with the Covid-19 virus on Wednesday at Orly airport, south of Paris. (Julien Fechter/DICOD via AP)

(CN) — The coronavirus pandemic reached grim milestones on Thursday with more than 50,000 deaths registered worldwide, 1 million confirmed cases reported around the globe and half of the world’s population told to stay home.

Europe continued to add the most deaths to the growing worldwide death toll despite weeks-long and strict lockdowns on most of its population. For a second day, Europe reported more than 3,000 new deaths, bringing Europe’s total toll to more than 33,000 fatalities.

Spain reported its worst single-day toll with 950 new deaths. Only Italy has reported more deaths in a single day. On Thursday, Italy announced 760 new deaths, bringing its total count to 13,915 fatalities. In Spain, 10,003 people have died due to the novel coronavirus disease known as Covid-19.

Staggering daily death tallies have become a new reality in the United Kingdom and France too. On Thursday, France announced 471 new deaths, bringing its total to 4,503, and the U.K. added 569 more fatalities for a total of 2,925 deaths.

A staffer delivers a medical oxygen tank to coronavirus patients who are being treated at home in Bergamo, northern Italy, on Tuesday. (Claudio Furlan/LaPresse via AP)

Worldwide, more than 51,000 people have died and over 1 million people have contracted the disease, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

All of these death counts need to be considered partial tallies because many people are dying in their homes and are not officially counted because they are not tested for Covid-19.

Underreporting of deaths has become a politically charged matter after media outlets on Thursday cited a classified U.S. intelligence report accusing the Chinese Communist Party of covering up the number of deaths and infections in Wuhan, a major industrial city where the new coronavirus is believed to have first emerged among humans. The official death count in China stands at 3,332 and the total number of confirmed cases at 82,432.

Regardless, more is becoming known about this new disease and who is most vulnerable to it.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization said 95% of 30,098 people who have died of coronavirus in Europe have been over the age of 60. More than half of the dead were over 80.

Also, WHO said more than 80% of those who died had at least one other chronic underlying condition like cardiovascular disease, hypertension or diabetes.
Still, the global agency said young people are at risk too.

“The very notion that Covid-19 only affects older people is factually wrong,” said Dr. Hans Kluge, the head of the European office of WHO, in a news conference in Copenhagen. “Young people are not invincible.”

The U.N. health agency says 10% to 15% of people under 50 with the disease have moderate or severe cases. Kluge said there have been severe cases also in teenagers and people in their 20s, including fatalities.

As the pandemic worsens, more countries are imposing restrictions on their populations in the hope of containing its spread.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin extended restrictions until April 30 as the number of confirmed cases rises there. He told Russians to not go to work and promised to pay their missed wages. Thailand became the newest nations to tell its citizens to stay home beginning on Friday.

Over 3.9 billion people – more than half of the world’s population – are in confinement, according to a tally by AFP, a French news agency. The agency said measures to prevent the spread of the virus are in place in more than 90 countries.

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Courthouse News reporter Cain Burdeau is based in the European Union.

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