The World Health Organization raised the global risk from the coronavirus to the agency's highest level of alert. Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated: "We have now increased our assessment of the risk of spread and the risk of impact of COVID-19 to very high at global level." WHO also warned that hospitals across the world are not prepared to handle the outbreak. Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's health emergencies program said "We've already seen in countries, and quite sophisticated countries, who've had a rapid rise in cases in the last week are having trouble coping with the clinical case loads."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it is increasing coronavirus testing capabilities at state and local labs after receiving criticism from California officials regarding the delay in testing for a resident that now tested positive. Speaking to White House reporters, Health and Human Service Secretary Alex Azar said that soon "the FDA will be rolling out streamlined guidance that will allow private labs to create their own tests based on essentially the recipe the CDC has used in their test kit."
Total Confirmed: 84,173
Total Deaths: 2,876
Total Recovered: 36,880
What Experts are Saying:
Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates wrote in an article published Friday in The New England Journal of Medicine that "Covid-19 has started behaving a lot like the once-in-a-century pathogen we've been worried about. I hope it's not that bad, but we should assume it will be until we know otherwise." The co-founder of Microsoft
Vice President Mike Pence stated in a news conference that the 'Coronavirus Task Force's' primary focus is on individuals that have been impacted in the United States. Pence is ready to discuss changes in travel status for the nation as well as engaging in an "all hands on deck effort" to keep U.S. citizen's safe. Later in the day, Pence spoke on those infected, stating, "in every case, people are being treated and by all accounts are doing well."
Tracking the Spread:
South Korea continues to post an alarming rate of new cases, with the country reporting 571 on Friday. China's new cases are still showing the promising signs of decline, as the nation reports 327 new cases and 44 new deaths, with 318 of the cases and 41 of the deaths taking place in Hubei. For the rest of Asia, Azerbaijan has reported its first case, Japan has 12 with one death, Taiwan has two, and Thailand reports one new case.
New Zealand has reported its first case, with the infection being traced back to recent travel to Iran. Australia has also reported one new case, with the citizen becoming infected from the Diamond Princess cruise quarantine.
Mexico has reported the country's first case, with the infected recently traveling to Italy. For the rest of North America, the U.S. had two new cases and Canada reported one.
Nigeria has announced its first positive case, the infected being an Italian citizen that working in the country.
Iran has reported an alarming 143 new cases and 8 deaths on Friday. For the rest of the Middle East, Israel has reported 3 new cases sourcing back to Italy, Bahrain reported 5 and Iraq has one new case linked to travel in Iran.
Italy continues to be gravely impacted by the virus, with the country reporting 233 new cases an 4 new deaths on Friday, for a total of 888 cases. Countries reporting their first positive case were Belarus, Lithuania and Iceland. For the rest of Europe, Denmark has one new case, Norway reported two, the U.K. has 4, France has 14 and warned the public to not shake hands, Sweden has 4, Austria has one, Romania has two, Germany has 11, the Netherlands has one, Switzerland has 7, Spain has 8, Greece has one and Croatia has two.
Note: This article only tracts daily coronavirus spread and commentary. For stock market news, see today's Market Update.