The White House on Thursday has directed government health officials and scientists to clear all coronavirus statements with Vice President Mike Pence. President Donald Trump had selected his second in command for the job in an effort to stop the spread of false information and coordinate the U.S.'s response to the virus. Pence has appointed Dr. Deborah L. Birx to serve at Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House.
Total Confirmed: More than 82,500
Total Deaths: Over 2,800
What Experts are Saying:
The World Health Organization stated on Thursday that member nations need to prepare for COVID-19's arrival. "Every country must be ready for its first case," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO. "No country should assume it wont get cases. That could be a fatal mistake. This virus does not respect borders."
The International Monetary Fund stated that it will likely downgrade its global economic growth forecast because of the rapid spread affecting businesses. IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice said in regard to the outbreak: "Clearly the virus is going to have an impact on growth," without going into detail about how large the impact will be. "A lot just depends on the speed of recovery in China and other countries, the spillover effect, the effects on supply chains, and the extent to which other countries may be significantly affected."
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar stated on Thursday that at least 40 public health labs have been able to test samples of COVID-19, and that number is due to double as soon as Friday. These labs will be testing to see how exactly the virus spreads and will be working towards an eventual vaccine.
China's central bank is concerned about the virus's impact on the global economy. Vice governor of the People's Bank of China stated on Thursday: "International organizations are worried about the negative impact of the [virus] to the global economy. I'm also worried, and this worry has become a reality."
Tracking the Spread:
South Korea has now confirmed over 500 new cases, bringing the nation's total to 1,766. This new spike in cases now exceeds China, who reported about 430 new cases on Thursday. The Japanese government has asked all school to close from March 2 to April. Singapore has also reported 3 new cases.
Iran has confirmed over 100 new cases on Thursday, bringing the nation's total to 245. Iran's death toll has continued to rise, now at 26. Health authorities from Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates have all reported cases that can be traced back to recent travel to Iran. Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspends the entry of foreigners to help prevent the spread.
Italy has added 180 new cases and 5 deaths. Ireland has confirmed its first case of the coronavirus on Thursday. This case is in addition to the 15 cases that have been confirmed within the U.K. The Netherlands, Denmark, and Estonia have all also had their first confirmed cases. Spain has confirmed 12 new cases, including a critical case in Madrid. Norway, Austria, France, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, and Greece have confirmed at least one new case on Thursday.
United States health officials late on Wednesday have confirmed that the first possible community transmission of the coronavirus in the U.S., which is a bad sign that the virus could already be spreading in local cities and towns. The infected individual in California has no trace to other outbreaks and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not know how they contracted the virus. California is also monitoring potentially 8,400 people that were at risk of exposure to the virus.
Note: This article only tracts daily coronavirus spread and commentary. For stock market update's, see today's Market Update.