Health and Healthcare Systems

COVID-19: Top stories on the coronavirus pandemic on May 17

A nurse wearing protective face mask participates in a protest to honour healthcare professionals who died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Brasilia, Brazil May 12, 2020. REUTERS/Adriano Machado - RC2BNG9TKS6W

A nurse in Brazil, where the death toll from the coronavirus is rapidly rising Image: REUTERS/Adriano Machado

Ceri Parker
Previously Commissioning Editor, Agenda, World Economic Forum
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Health and Healthcare Systems?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how COVID-19 is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:


  • A daily round-up of the key stories as COVID-19 continues its spread around the world.
  • Top headlines: Brazil's toll rises, the four phases of the COVID economy, Greeks return to church.

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

1. Brazil passes Spain and Italy in confirmed coronavirus cases. Brazil's official tally of 233,142 cases took it past the European countries that were once the epicentre of the pandemic. International comparisons are difficult, however, because of discrepancies in testing regimes.

Globally, the virus continued its spread, with over 4.6 million confirmed cases and more that 312,000 deaths. The true number of infections is likely to be much higher.

According to data compiled by John Hopkins University, the United States has the highest number of confirmed cases in the world, followed by Russia, the UK, Brazil and Spain.

China reported just five new confirmed daily cases of the disease on Sunday.

covid-19 coronavirus chart
The shape of the COVID-19 outbreak in selected countries Image: John Hopkins University

2. The four phases of the COVID economy. They are containment, stabilization, normalization and growth, according to Ajay Banga, CEO of Mastercard. Speaking on a World Economic Forum COVID Action Platform call, he said most economies in the world were now in the stabilization phase, with spending beginning to pick up.

Read more about how businesses are responding to the crisis here.


3. Greek attend church for the first time in months. Distant from one another - but not from their faith. It was an emotional moment for many in Greece on Sunday, May 17, as the first church services were held following a lockdown which had begun in mid-March.

Orthodox faithful respect social distancing as they attend the first service open for believers following the easing of measures against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Athens, Greece, May 17, 2020. REUTERS/Costas Baltas - RC27QG9J0JJS
Orthodox faithful respect social distancing as they attend the first service for months in Athens Image: REUTERS/Costas Baltas

4. The practical headaches of a coronavirus business boom. The pandemic has dealt an unprecedented blow to the global economy, but even companies who have seen a surge in demand for products from packaging to sanitizer are struggling with the new reality.

In one company, wiping down machinery with disinfectant blurred a "danger" sign; many others are calculating new costs of everything from cleaning rags to staff temperature checks, according to this Reuters report.

5. A beautiful game - and a different game. Elite European football kicked off on May 16, but to empty stadiums. "We have found that the considerable home advantage in football is on average almost entirely wiped out in closed doors matches," wrote academics who have been studying the impact of home crowds on performance.

Image: Carl Singleton
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Renovation and reinvention are key to saving our food system. Here's why

Juliana Weltman Glezer

June 13, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum