More than a third of the deaths reported worldwide have come from Italy

By Dave Quinn
March 20, 2020 09:58 AM

More than 10,000 people across the globe have died from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), according to Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering, who have been tracking cases amid the ongoing health crisis.

As of Friday morning, the total deaths crossed the 10,000 mark, with at least 10,038 deaths reported worldwide.

The majority of the deaths have come from Italy. The country surpassed China for the most number of coronavirus-related deaths, with at least 3,405 people deceased in the country compared to 3,253 deaths in China, where the disease originated late last year.

Italy’s death total now accounts for more than a third of the deaths reported worldwide, becoming the deadliest center for the outbreak. And Italy’s number may be even more than reported. On Friday’s Today, Daniela Confalonieri — a nurse in Milan — said that they stopped tracking those who have died as the countries health system has buckled under the pressure of treating the illness.

“Unfortunately we can’t contain the situation,” she told the outlet, in Italian. “There’s a high level of contagion and we’re not even counting the dead anymore.”

A whopping 246,275 coronavirus cases have been recorded globally as of Friday morning, according to Johns Hopkins.

Italy has placed its 60 million citizens under a nationwide lockdown for more than a week, a similar nationwide restriction that has been seen in China. But global officials in Italy say they took too long to implement social distancing tactics and quarantine those who were affected.

“Essentially, it was kind of a perfect storm,” Professor Walter Ricciardi, of the World Heath Organization, told Today. “It wasn’t taken adequately seriously in the very beginning because everybody thought it was a distant problem coming from China.”

But there is some hope. China hit a major milestone on Thursday, reporting no new coronavirus cases in the country for the first time since the pandemic began, according to CNN.

Donald Trump
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Meanwhile, the United States — which officials have said is two weeks behind Italy — surpassed 10,000 cases on Thursday. The virus has hit all 50 states, with the New York Times reporting on Friday morning that at least 12,392 people have tested positive for the disease, and at least 195 patients with the virus have died.

Coronavirus is highly contagious and can spread in several ways — through air molecules from sneezing or coughing, or on surfaces, where it can live up to 72 hours, depending on the material. People can also be asymptomatic or carriers for the virus without realizing they have it.

All of these factors mean that people can unknowingly spread the virus to those who are at a higher risk of developing a severe, life-threatening reaction.

In turn, officials have said it is essential that Americans stay indoors and avoid contact with other people to reduce the spread by practicing social distancing. Night clubs, theaters, stores, and businesses across the country have shut down, with employees working from home and many restaurants moving to delivery and takeout only.

Those who have recently come in contact with someone with a confirmed case of the virus — or those who are starting to show symptoms (such as coughing, fever or respiratory problems) — have been encouraged to self-quarantine for 14 days (the time it takes to develop symptoms).

People should make sure to wash their hands frequently, avoid sharing the bathroom and other spaces with other household members and refuse any visitors.

Gavin Newsom
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On Thursday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide, mandatory, stay at home order for the state’s nearly 40 million residents in an attempt to flatten the curve and stop the disease’s spread. Those employed in critical sectors are still asked to go to work, while others have been told they should not leave their homes except for essential trips to buy food, medicine and to seek medical treatment.

“This is a moment where we need some straight talk,” Newsom said. “As individuals and as a community, we need to do more to meet this moment.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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