More than 94,000 people have already died from the coronavirus pandemic worldwide, while a food crisis is hitting some countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
With the symbolic bar of 100,000 coronavirus deaths approaching, the international community is seeking economic and diplomatic responses to the pandemic, which threatens a world largely confined to a global recession.
More than 94,000 people have succumbed to the pandemic which, according to the patron of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, will have “the worst economic consequences since the Great Depression” of 1929.
Avoiding a new wave of contamination
Some encouraging figures in Europe and the United States give hope for an imminent slowdown in the increase in this macabre count. For the first time, the number of intensive care patients fell slightly in France, and the situation has stabilized in several American epidemic outbreaks of Covid-19.
But in the absence of a vaccine, the return to normal will have to wait and will probably take place gradually, the authorities wanting at all costs to avoid a new wave of infections.
The containment measures, which now cover more than half of humanity, have a huge cost. Whole sectors of the economy are paralyzed, trade plummets, unemployment soars.
In this “anxiety-provoking” period, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed on Thursday that “a signal of unity and determination” from the Security Council, divided for weeks, “would count a lot” to mitigate the implications for the peace of the pandemic, claiming that it was “a generation’s fight”.
But the 15 members of the Council, gathered by videoconference during the night of Thursday to Friday for a first session devoted to Coronavirus Covid-19, were limited to bringing their “support” to the head of the UN.
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” We are hungry “
In the rest of the world, the majority of countries do not have American or European means. For the first time in more than a quarter of a century, sub-Saharan Africa, particularly exposed, should enter into recession in 2020, warned the World Bank, which also fears a “food crisis” on the continent.
Despite the difficulties this imposes on many, South Africa, the continent’s economic giant, has extended the call to stay cloistered at home for two weeks.
In Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, containment is already disrupting agricultural production circuits. After only a week, in each street, each district of Lagos, the economic lung of the country, we hear the same litany: “We are hungry”.
In India too, the poorest are struggling to survive. “Last night, we had rotis (traditional Indian bread, note) with salt mixed in mustard oil”, describes Rajni Devi, a mother from the outskirts of New Delhi, who says she is falling asleep crying every night.
“It is better to die than to be hungry like that.”
“Flatten the curve”
Although the planet is walled up, the virus continues to spread and the world is fast approaching the 100,000 death mark.
With more than 18,000 deaths, Italy is still the country with the most victims in the world. The United States now occupies second place in this sinister classification with 16,478 dead, followed by Spain (more than 15,000) and France (more than 12,000).
Epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, New York State deplored nearly 800 deaths in 24 hours, its worst record in a day. But the number of hospitalizations has never been so low since the beginning of the crisis, noted its governor Andrew Cuomo, which made him say: “We are flattening the curve”.
Spain, Italy and France also notes a downward trend in hospital pressure. Health authorities everywhere are calling for continued efforts.
In Britain, an additional 881 deaths were recorded in 24 hours. A breath of fresh air: Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a carrier of the virus, was able to get out of intensive care .
In Iran, the 4,000 deaths mark has been crossed but, according to the authorities, the latest figures show “clearly a drop in the number of new cases of contamination”.
Healthcare workers in all countries continue to pay a heavy price for the pandemic: in Italy, a hundred doctors, as well as around thirty nurses and nursing assistants have died. In the UK, a doctor who sounded the alarm about the lack of protective equipment for carers died from the virus.