• This daily roundup brings you a selection of the latest news updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Today's big stories: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson returns to work; France, Italy and Spain prepare to ease lockdowns; and the global death toll could be much higher than records show.

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 affecting the globe

2. Could the death toll be much higher than we think?

The global coronavirus death toll could be nearly 60% higher than reported, according to an analysis by the Financial Times. The FT examined overall fatalities during the pandemic in 14 countries in March and April 2020, compared to the average for the same period between 2015 and 2019.

"Mortality statistics show 122,000 deaths in excess of normal levels across these locations, considerably higher than the 77,000 official Covid-19 deaths reported for the same places and time periods...If the same level of underreporting observed in these countries was happening worldwide, the global Covid-19 death toll would rise from the current official total of 201,000 to as high as 318,000."

Image: FT.com

3. Coronavirus ushers in a new era of Big Government in the US

The coronavirus pandemic, like other national shocks such as the Great Depression, World War II and the 2007-2009 global recession, is expanding and reshaping the role of the Federal government in the US, reports The Wall Street Journal.

"Much of today’s new government activism will recede over time along with the virus. Yet conversations with a broad cross-section of political figures suggest there is little reason to expect a return to what had been the status quo on federal spending, or the prevailing attitude toward the proper role of government."

4. The unique way Italian mayors are trying to keep citizens safe

In Italy, where deaths from coronavirus have climbed to over 26,000, the country's local mayors have adopted aggressive tactics to ensure their citizens respect lockdown rules, reports The New York Times. The mayors "have launched insult-armed drones. They have personally confronted scofflaws on the streets. They have mocked women for getting their hair done because no one would see them in their closed caskets. They have asked all their dog-walking citizens if their pets had prostate problems."

The Times reports that Vincenzo De Luca, the president of Campania and the former mayor of Salerno, threatened to use a blowtorch to break up a graduation party. “We needed to send a clear message, with slightly brutal language,” De Luca reportedly said.