The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus world-wide doubled in a week to more than 10,000 on Friday.
Deaths from the pneumonia-causing pathogen have more than quadrupled in the U.S. over the past week to 205, while confirmed infections in the country have surged to 14,250 from around 1,700 on March 13. The majority of U.S. cases are in three states: New York, Washington and California.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo took more significant steps Friday to contain the growing number of cases, ordering residents to stay indoors “to the greatest extent” and requiring all nonessential workforce employees to stay home. He said the measures will be enforced, with fines and mandatory closures for businesses that don’t comply.
“This is the most drastic action we can take,” Mr. Cuomo said. New York has 7,102 infections, thousands more than any other U.S. state.
In the largest lockdown in the U.S. to date, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the state’s 40 million residents to shelter in their homes, except for essential activities. Mr. Newsom’s order followed similar measures implemented earlier this week in San Francisco and the Bay Area, where residents were ordered to stay in their homes for three weeks. The state has 1,030 confirmed infections.
The State Department advised U.S. citizens not to travel internationally and urged those currently overseas to return home immediately or remain abroad indefinitely.
As the number of reported infections grew across the U.S. this week, everyday life fundamentally changed as more state and local leaders moved to limit its further spread. Large gatherings were prohibited; school, work and worship moved online; and bars and restaurants shut down. On Friday, the Scripps National Spelling Bee postponed its 2020 championships, scheduled to take place in Maryland in late May.
As the economic disruption caused by the virus becomes more apparent, lawmakers in the nation’s capital were set to begin negotiations over a stimulus package, the first version of which proposes direct cash payments to many Americans as part of a larger plan also designed to help struggling businesses and health-care professionals. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. will extend the individual tax filing deadline to July 15.
U.S. stocks were mixed Friday after the Federal Reserve on Thursday offered to temporarily provide billions of dollars at near-zero rates to central banks, easing market strains.
Globally, there were more than 247,000 confirmed cases of the disease known as Covid-19, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, with two-thirds of the cases outside of mainland China, where the new respiratory virus was first identified in late 2019.
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Europe has become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with a relentless rise in new cases forcing border closures and nationwide quarantines and stretching health-care systems to their outer limits.
France, where cases grew to 10,891, is likely to extend its two-week lockdown, authorities said on Friday.
“It’s a race against the virus, and we are just at the beginning,” said French President Emmanuel Macron, who convened a defense council on Friday with his cabinet.