Commuters wearing face masks make their way to work on Thursday, as worldwide confirmed cases of … [+]
Topline: As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide crosses the threshold of half a million, with nearly 23,000 deaths, the crisis has grown to historic proportions, as governments continue to grapple with how to keep the virus from spreading and keeping their economy afloat.
- On Thursday, Johns Hopkins University recorded the 500,00th person to test positive for coronavirus.
- China, where the virus is believed to have originated, remains the country hardest-hit by the disease, followed by Italy, the U.S., Spain and then Germany.
- The half-million mark show an exponential explosion of the virus around the globe: this time last month, there were only 82,700 confirmed global cases— and a month before that, just under 3,000 people had tested positive.
- While countries like South Korea appear to be past the worst of the coronavirus outbreak, the situation in the U.S. seems to be worsening, with more deaths and confirmed cases reported daily.
Tangent: Despite its rapid spread, coronavirus has not yet beat out the 1918 influenza pandemic, when an estimated 500 million people —one-third of the world’s population— became infected. The number of deaths was believed to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the U.S. alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
At this moment in time, the casualties from coronavirus is on-par with the 2011 Japan Earthquake, with the number of deaths and missing stemming from the earthquake estimated to be about 22,000 according to CNN. It’s also close to the number of Union casualties reported at the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War and the total number of casualties on all sides for The War of 1812.
Key background: The coronavirus pandemic has placed much of the people on earth under some kind of restriction to prevent the spread of the virus, as governments scramble to keep their economies from going bust. On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate approved the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history, earmarking $2 trillion to go toward helping cities, hospitals, small businesses, airlines and other companies, along with a check of $1,200 to most Americans to help deal with the economic fallout of the pandemic. Today the U.S. reported that 3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the last week alone.