International

U.S., U.K. face hard time as deaths spike

Heroes in the battle: People in Barcelona, Spain, playing musical instruments and dancing on their balconies, in support of the country’s medical staff, on Sunday.

Heroes in the battle: People in Barcelona, Spain, playing musical instruments and dancing on their balconies, in support of the country’s medical staff, on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: Emilio Morenatti

American official compares the crisis to Pearl Harbor, 9/11 attacks; Britain sees over 600 deaths a day

The U.S. and Britain braced for what could be one of their bleakest weeks in memory on Monday as the human and financial toll of the coronavirus outbreak mounted. But new deaths and infections appeared to be slowing in Italy, Spain and France, suggesting that lockdowns and social distancing are working.

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Much of Europe saw glimmers of hope — deaths and new infections appeared to be slowing in much of the three hardest-hit countries, as well as in the Netherlands and Germany. Leaders cautioned, however, that any gains could easily be reversed if people did not continue to adhere to strict social distancing measures and national lockdowns.

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In Washington, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams offered a stark warning about the surge of coronavirus deaths the nation is facing. “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment,” he told “Fox News Sunday.”‘More than 9,600 people have died of the virus in the U.S., and it leads the world in confirmed infections at more than 3,37,000.

President Donald Trump suggested the hard weeks ahead could foretell the turning of a corner. “We’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel,” Mr. Trump claimed at a briefing.

Italy still has, by far, the world’s highest coronavirus death toll — almost 16,000 — but the pressure on northern Italy’s intensive care units has eased.

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In Spain, deaths and new infections dropped again on Monday. The Health Ministry reported 637 new deaths, the lowest in 13 days, for a total of over 13,000 dead. New recorded infections were also the lowest in two weeks.

Britain reported more than 600 deaths on Sunday, surpassing Italy’s daily increase for the second day in a row.

‘Rise to the occasion’

In a rare televised address, Queen Elizabeth II appealed to Britons to rise to the occasion, while acknowledging they face enormous disruptions, grief and financial difficulties.

Lacking enough for protective gear against the virus, British doctors and nurses were wearing goggles from school science classes, holding their breath when close to patients, and repeatedly reusing single-use masks, Dr. Rinesh Parmar, head of Doctors’ Association UK, told Sky News.

Worldwide, more than 1.2 million people have been confirmed infected and over 70,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 9:51:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-uk-face-hard-time-as-deaths-spike/article31273785.ece

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