6 things to know about coronavirus today, 1 April

A worker moves part of a delivery of 64 hospital beds from Hillrom to The Mount Sinai Hospital during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., March 31, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly.
A worker moves a delivery of 64 hospital beds into The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Image: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
  • In this round-up, find coronavirus news updates, tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Top stories: fighting coronavirus and unemployment simultaneously, how China's economy gives the world a glimpse of what's to come, and why Bill Gates says the US should consider a 6-8 week shutdown.

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

  • More than 42,000 people have died worldwide, with over 860,000 cases of infection, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 178,000 people have recovered from COVID-19.
  • The death toll in the US hits more than 500 in one day for first time.
  • Cases in New York rise to more than 75,000. Deaths there jumped from 352 to 1,550 in one day.
  • UN chief says COVID-19 could be the biggest challenge the world has face since the United Nations was formed.

As China, a previous epicentre of COVID-19, appears to be turning a corner, economic data shows the damage done to the country’s finances. This chart helps demonstrate the sharp losses to China’s economy, and could signal what lies ahead for other countries.

COVID-19 economic impact.
Image: Visual Capitalist

3. How a new position - 'community health worker' - could help fight US unemployment and COVID-19
The US recently saw more than 3 million jobless claims in just one week. As lockdowns drive unemployment higher, a new role - community health worker - could ease pressures on healthcare systems while putting people to work. Retraining the unemployed to deliver food and medications to the elderly, staff hotlines run by hospitals and help monitor those in self-isolation are just some of the ways a newly available labour force could help fight the virus.

4. The video apps we're downloading in the pandemic
During lockdown, people have turned to video apps to stay connected. In fact, global downloads of Skype, Houseparty and Zoom doubled in March, says Priori Data. Zoom has seen one of the biggest jumps. The videoconferencing app was downloaded nearly 27 million times this month, up from just 2.1 million in January.

Downloads of video apps have soared as the pandemic has taken hold.
Image: Statista

In a recent CNN interview, Bill Gates stressed the need for urgent measures in the US, including a total shutdown in the US for six to eight weeks. Currently, US lockdown measures vary from state to state, and in some cases, from county to county.

"If we do it right, we'll only have to do it once"

—Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

To ease the strain on the healthcare system, the UK has created five temporary hospitals capable of treating a total of 10,000 patients in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester. Many have been built inside existing convention centres, including the ExCeL convention centre, which hosted numerous events for the 2012 Olympics.