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Coronavirus Live Updates: Humanity Faces Gravest Challenge Since World War II, U.N. Says

President Trump told of “hard days that lie ahead” as his top scientific advisers released models predicting that the U.S. death toll would be 100,000 to 240,000. Governors complained about chaos in obtaining critical supplies.

RIGHT NOWThe S&P 500 fell nearly 4 percent in early trading, extending its losses from March — with a 12.5 percent drop — the worst month for stocks since 2008.

Americans are told to brace for “very, very painful” period, and U.N. says virus threatens global stability.
The United Nations warned on Wednesday that the unfolding battle against the coronavirus would lead to “enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict.”

As Americans steeled themselves for what President Trump said would be a “very, very painful two weeks,” the scale of the economic, political and societal fallout around the world came into ever greater focus.

“We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations — one that is killing people, spreading human suffering and upending people’s lives,” the United Nations declared in a report calling for global solidarity in the fight.

“This is much more than a health crisis,” the report added. “The coronavirus is attacking societies at their core.”

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With more than 30,000 dead across Europe and the virus still spreading ferociously, millions across the continent resigned themselves to hunkering down for weeks more, and possibly months.

Britain, France and Spain all experienced their highest death tolls on Tuesday.

At the White House, the scientists charged with leading the battle against the virus made it clear that there were two distinctly different campaigns underway in the United States.

One was taking place in the New York metropolitan region, where more than half of the nation’s cases have been detected — the death toll in New York City alone surged past 1,000. More than 2,000 nurses, 500 paramedics and emergency medical technicians, as well as 250 ambulances from across the country, were converging on the city, joining the Navy and the National Guard in assisting the region’s front-line medical workers.

Adding to the warlike atmosphere, the home of the U.S. Open tennis championship in Queens was being turned into a triage center, and hospital tents were being set up in Central Park.

Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the nation’s coronavirus response, pointed to the exponential growth of cases in New York and parts of New Jersey as just the thing that national officials were trying to prevent in other parts of the country.

The charts — with multicolor lines representing the virus in each of the 50 states — looked like the maps used to track hurricanes. And as with the weather, there is a good deal of uncertainty in the predictions.

Dr. Birx said that there had been worrying outbreaks in other metropolitan regions, including Detroit and Miami, but that the second broad campaign at the moment was to keep the lines tracking the virus in the rest of the country from looking like those in New York and New Jersey.

The best tool at the government’s disposal, she said, remained strict adherence to social distancing guidelines.

Even if those guidelines are followed perfectly, officials said, the estimated death toll in the United States is 100,000 to 240,000 deaths.

Five weeks ago, when there were 60 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, President Trump expressed little alarm. “This is a flu,” he said. “This is like a flu.” He was still likening it to an ordinary flu as late as Friday.

By Tuesday, however, with more than 187,000 recorded cases in the United States and more Americans having been killed by the virus than by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the president’s assessment had rather drastically changed. “It’s not the flu,” he said. “It’s vicious.”

The grim-faced president who appeared in the White House briefing room for more than two hours on Tuesday evening beside charts showing death projections of hellacious proportions was coming to grips with a reality he had long refused to accept. At a minimum, the charts predicted that 100,000 to 240,000 Americans would die — and only if the nation abided by stringent social restrictions that would choke the economy and impoverish millions.

A crisis that Mr. Trump had repeatedly asserted was “under control” and hoped would “miraculously” American Education News disappear has come to consume his presidency, presenting him with a challenge that he seems only now to be seeing more clearly.

The numbers publicly outlined on Tuesday had forced him over the weekend to reverse his plan to reopen the country by Easter, but they were hardly new or surprising. Experts have been warning of a possibility like this for weeks. But more than ever before, Mr. Trump seemed to acknowledge them.

“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,” the president said, the starkest such effort he has made to prepare the country for the expected wave of disease and death. “We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks.”

Stocks on Wall Street fell sharply on Wednesday, following a slump in global markets, as investors faced new projections of the potential scale and economic ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic.



The S&P 500 fell nearly 4 percent in early trading, extending its losses from March — with a 12.5 percent drop — the worst month for stocks since 2008.

Though the panic-driven, stomach-churning market volatility of recent weeks had subsided in recent days, numerous signs point to dire prospects for the world economy as the pandemic continues its spread. President Trump said at a news conference on Tuesday that the United States would face a “very, very painful two weeks,” and government scientists projected that the outbreak could kill up to 240,000 people in the country. And on Wednesday, the United Nations warned of “enhanced instability, enhanced unrest and enhanced conflict.”

Economic readings continued to worsen. On Wednesday, a monthly measure of factory activity in Europe collapsed to its lowest level since at least 2012, while data showed that Japan’s factory activity had slowed to its lowest rate in a decade. Investors will get more data on the job market in the United States later this week, with the government reporting weekly jobless claims on Thursday and the unemployment rate on Friday.

A chorus of governors from across the political spectrum publicly challenged the Trump administration’s assertion that the United States is well stocked and well prepared to test people for the coronavirus and care for the sickest patients.

In many cases, the governors said, the country’s patchwork approach had left them bidding against one another for supplies.

Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican, said on Tuesday that his state was “flying blind” in the fight against the coronavirus because officials did not have enough tests. When asked during an NPR interview about President Trump’s comments suggesting that a chronic lack of test kits was no longer a problem in the United States, Mr. Hogan did not mince words: “Yeah, that’s just not true.”

Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut, a Democrat, said on Tuesday that it was “disturbing” to learn that a national stockpile of medical supplies was running empty.

“We are on our own,” he said.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York — whose younger brother, Chris Cuomo, a CNN anchor, has tested positive for the virus — likened the conflicts to “being on eBay with 50 other states, bidding on a ventilator.”

The crisis has gripped the state with stunning speed. Thirty days ago, there was one detected case in New York City. By April 1, there were more than 40,000 infections, and 1,096 deaths from the virus.

Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that the numbers of cases and hospitalizations were expected to continue rising rapidly. The city’s need for equipment and medical workers remained vast and immediate, he said.

“This coming Sunday, April 5, is a demarcation line,” Mr. de Blasio said, zeroing in again on what he has called a critical date. “This is the point at which we must be prepared for next week when we expect a huge increase in the number of cases.”

The International Monetary Fund has declared that the world economy has now entered a recession and recovery is unlikely until 2021. As many as 25 million jobs could simply disappear and the world could lose some $3.4 trillion in labor income. More than 1.5 billion students are currently out of school or university, representing 87 percent of the world’s children and young people, and about 60 million teachers are no longer in the classroom.

That is just a sampling of the radical ways the virus and the fight to slow its spread are reshaping the world, according to a United Nations report.

“Covid-19 is the greatest test that we have faced together since the formation of the United Nations,” Press Release Distribution Service António Guterres, the secretary general of the United Nations, said on Wednesday.

The report stated, “This is the moment to dismantle trade barriers, maintain open trade, and re-establish supply chains.”

“Tariff and nontariff measures, as well as export bans, especially those imposed on medicinal and related products, would slow countries’ action to contain the virus,” the study added. “Import taxes or restrictions on medical supplies need to be waived.”

The report called for “a large-scale, coordinated and comprehensive multilateral response amounting to at least 10 percent of global G.D.P.”

As the virus swept around the world, the first reaction of many nations was to retreat within their own borders, institute travel restrictions and nationalize the fight against the virus.

But the United Nations said that in this global fight, a global approach was needed.

And it is essential that developed countries immediately assist those less developed to bolster their health systems, the report found. Otherwise, the world faces the nightmare of the disease spreading like wildfire in the Global South, according to the report, with “millions of deaths and the prospect of the disease re-emerging where it was previously suppressed.

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