By Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch
The number of cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 continued to spread on Wednesday, as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a dire warning that the pace of infection in New York state is doubling every three days and again urged the federal government to take action.
“We were looking at a freight train coming across the country. We are now looking at a bullet train,” Cuomo told reporters.
The latest numbers from the New York Health Department showed the number of cases rose 20%in one day on Wednesday to 30,811.
Vice President Mike Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx, two key members of the White House Task Force created to address the pandemic, called on people who have recently been in and left New York City to self-isolate for 14 days. Florida mandated that all travelers arriving from New York state, as well as New Jersey and Connecticut, self-quarantine for two weeks.
In Europe, Italy remains the epicenter of the outbreak with numbers showing a disappointing pickup in infections after an apparent slowdown earlier in the week. From the U.K., comes the news that Prince Charles, heir to the throne, has been infected.
In Asia, India became the latest country to order its citizens to stay at home, locking down 1.3 billion people. In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador continues to draw criticism for his insistence that life should go on as normal. And in Brazil, far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro also continued to play down the risks, leaving Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo to quarantine themselves in a bid to stop the spread.
There are now at least 451,355 cases of the illness and at least 20,499 people have died, according to the latest data from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering’s Centers for Systems Science and Engineering. At least 112,982 people have already recovered.
In the U.S., the tally is 55,243 cases and at least 802 deaths.
Italy has 69,176 cases and 6,820 people have died (Italy’s numbers have not updated since Tuesday). In Spain, there are at least 47,610 cases and 3,434 people have died. That means that more people have died in Italy and Spain than in China, where the outbreak is believed to have started late last year in the city of Wuhan.
China has 81,661 cases and 3,285 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data. China reported 47 new cases overnight, but none in Wuhan.
In Germany, there are 35,353 cases and at least 181 people have died. In France, the tally is 22,637 cases and 1,102 deaths. Other countries with large clusters include Iran, which now has 27,017 cases and 2,077 deaths. South Korea, admired for its widespread testing and low mortality rate, has 9,137 cases but just 102 deaths.
The U.S. Senate agreed on a stimulus package worth about $2 trillion in the early hours. The bill includes provisions to extend bridge loans to companies, boost the duration and size of unemployment benefits and provide tax rebates, among other features.
The Senate is due to reconvene at noon Eastern. The bill is expected to easily clear the Senate and then move to the House of Representatives, which will try to pass it by a procedure called unanimous consent. If any House member were to object, the full House would have to convene, no easy feat given that most lawmakers are back in their home districts.
Vice President Mike Pence said that Apple Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +1.41% has donated 9 million N95 face masks to health-care workers, as companies continue to step up to help address the shortage of vital protective equipment. Facebook Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB +3.38% donated its stockpile of 720,000 face masks. The two Silicon Valley giants had built those supplies for their own employees following years of dangerous wildfires in California.