• In this daily round-up, we'll bring you a selection of the latest news updates on the coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Today's big stories include: how the crisis will impact the world's poor, the prospect of a Marshall Plan for COVID-19 and this week's new World Vs Virus podcast

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

Since its launch on 11 March, the Forum’s COVID Action Platform has brought together 1,667 stakeholders from 1,106 businesses and organizations to mitigate the risk and impact of the unprecedented global health emergency that is COVID-19.

The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

1. How COVID-19 is impacting the globe

  • There are more than 1.6 million confirmed cases of infection of the COVID-19 coronavirus worldwide as of 10 April, with more than 95,000 confirmed deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 337,000 people have reportedly recovered from the disease.
  • The U.S. Federal Reserve announces $2.3 trillion program to help for small businesses and state and local governments.
  • A record number of confirmed deaths reported in New York for third day in a row. New York state has more confirmed cases of the virus than any country.
  • South Asian nations weighed tighter lockdown restrictions as confirmed coronavirus cases hit 12,000 in the region.
coronavirus covid-19
Viral world: confirmed coronavirus cases
Image: John Hopkins University

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has called for a new Marshall Plan to help those of the continent’s economies that have been hit hardest by the coronavirus. The Marshall Plan was a US initiative to help reinvigorate the economies of Europe after the end of World War II. While some economists have concerns about that plan, some believe the EU budget can act as an “instrument of solidarity and modernization” to help those countries most in need – such as Italy and Spain, where the death tolls and economic shutdowns have been most severe.

“In this crisis, there can be no half-measures.”

—Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

3. How COVID-19 is affecting the world of virtual sports
The absence of “real” sport presents an opportunity for virtual technologies to grow. Already, sports leagues across the world are using esports to maintain interest and a sense of competition during shutdowns. Esports have grown massively in recent years and present a new way to engage fans and bring in revenue. Furthermore, immersive technologies could enable fans to experience games live, without having to be physically present – an idea that once may have been counterintuitive but now seems logical.

Elynn Walter prepares food for a seder meal to celebrate Passover with her family using video chat from each of their homes, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Washington, U.S., April 8, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis - RC2P0G924OTD
Elynn Walter prepares food for a seder meal to celebrate Passover with her family using video chat from each of their homes, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Washington, U.S., April 8, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Leah Millis

David Miliband, former British foreign secretary tells this week’s World Versus Virus podcast of his fears for the world’s most vulnerable as the virus outbreak heads their way. “If you think it is really terrifying to face the prospect of COVID in an advanced industrialized country," said Miliband current head of the International Rescue Committee, "just imagine what it's like to face the prospect of a virus where there isn't running water, where there isn't a proper health system, where densities of population [are like] Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh, where there are a million.”

That - along with a conversation with religious leaders about how the crisis is changing worship - is all in this week's World Versus Virus podcast, available on Apple Podcasts as part of its Essential Listening collection. The podcast is also available on Spotify and Libsyn.

5. How world-changing vaccinations got their start
Vaccinations have revolutionized global health thanks to the foundations built by early pioneers. In fact, early attempts to inoculate people against smallpox – one of history’s most feared illnesses, with a death rate of 30% – were reported in China as early as the 16th Century. Smallpox scabs could be ground up and blown into the recipient’s nostrils or scratched into their skin.