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Spain Logs Record Deaths; NY Needs Help03/31 06:39

   Spain's coronavirus deaths jumped by a record number Tuesday and New York 
Gov. Andrew Cuomo begged for health care reinforcements, saying up to 1 million 
more workers were needed.

   MADRID (AP) -- Spain's coronavirus deaths jumped by a record number Tuesday 
as the country's medical system strained to care for its tens of thousands of 
infected patients, and the World Health Organization warned that the pandemic 
was far from over in Asia.

   In the United States, where the spread of the coronavirus has been 
accelerating, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo begged for health care reinforcements, 
saying up to 1 million more workers were needed.

   Spain and Italy are still struggling to avoid the collapse of their health 
systems, with Spain saying hospitals in at least half of its 17 regions are at 
or very near their ICU bed limits and more than 10,000 medical workers are 
among the country's reported 94,417 infections.

   To cope, dozens of hotels across Spain have been converted into recovery 
rooms for patients not in serious condition, and authorities are building 
makeshift field hospitals in sports centers, libraries and exhibition halls. So 
far they have manged to add 23,000 beds.

   Overnight, Spain recorded 849 new deaths, the highest daily toll since the 
pandemic hit the southern European country. It has now claimed the lives of 
8,189 people in Spain, forcing Madrid to open a second temporary morgue this 
week after an ice rink pressed into service last week become overwhelmed.

   Authorities are shifting ventilating machines to regions with the highest 
number of ICU patients and moving the patients themselves between regions "has 
not been ruled out," said Dr. Mara Jos Sierra of Spain's health emergencies 
center.

   Deaths climbed rapidly in the United States, which was poised Tuesday to 
overtake China's reported virus death toll of 3,300. But experts say all 
numbers reported by governments and states in this pandemic are faulty in 
different ways, due to the lack of testing, mild virus cases that are missed or 
the determination of some governments to try to seize and shape their pandemic 
narrative.

   "This is going to be a long-term battle and we cannot let down our guard," 
said Dr Takeshi Kasai, WHO's regional director for the Western Pacific. "We 
need every country to keep responding according to their local situation."

   Hard-hit Italy and Spain now account for more than half of the 38,000 
COVID-19 deaths reported worldwide and the United States has the most confirmed 
cases at 164,610, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

   Italy's death toll rose to nearly 11,600 --- the highest in the world by far 
--- but its rates of new infections were slowing.

   To the east, Russia registered 500 new confirmed cases in the biggest spike 
since the beginning of the outbreak, bringing its total to 2,337. Moscow, the 
capital, has been on lockdown since Monday and the government is edging toward 
to declaring a national state of emergency.

   In New York, the epicenter of the American outbreak, Cuomo and health 
officials warned that the crisis unfolding there is just a preview of what 
other U.S. cities and towns will soon face. New York state's death toll climbed 
by more than 250 people in a day to over 1,200.

   "We've lost over 1,000 New Yorkers," Cuomo said. "To me, we're beyond 
staggering already."

   Even before the governor's appeal, close to 80,000 former nurses, doctors 
and other professionals were stepping up to volunteer in New York, and a Navy 
hospital ship arrived with 1,000 beds to relieve pressure on the city's 
overwhelmed hospitals.

   In California, officials put out a similar call for medical volunteers as 
coronavirus hospitalizations doubled over the last four days and the number of 
patients in intensive care tripled.

   Experts, however, maintain the pandemic will be defeated only by the social 
distancing measures that have put billions of people on lockdown and upended 
the world's economy.

   Dr. Chiara Lepora in the virus hotspot of Lodi in northern Italy said the 
pandemic had revealed critical health care issues in developed countries.

   "Outbreaks cannot be fought in hospitals," she said. "Hospitals can only 
deal with the consequences."

   In the southern state of Florida, officials were meeting later Tuesday to 
decide whether to let the infection-plagued cruise ship Zaandam dock after more 
than two weeks at sea.

   In a South American dream trip that turned into a nightmare, dozens on the 
ship have reported flu-like symptoms and four people have died. The company 
said eight people have tested positive but 2,300 other passengers and crew are 
in good health.

   Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said the state's health care resources are 
stretched too thin to allow the ship to dock. The ship needed special 
permission just to pass through the Panama Canal.

   More than 235 million people --- about two of every three Americans --- live 
in the 33 states where governors have declared statewide orders or 
recommendations to stay home.

   "Challenging times are ahead for the next 30 days," President Donald Trump 
told reporters. "The more we dedicate ourselves today, the more quickly we will 
emerge on the other side."

   Worldwide, more than 788,000 people have been infected and 166,000 have 
recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University.

   For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as 
fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with 
existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms like pneumonia 
and even death.

   China on Tuesday reported just one new death from the coronavirus and 48 new 
cases, claiming that all new cases came from overseas. In Wuhan, people were 
ready to jump, cry and "revenge shop" as the Chinese city once at the center of 
the outbreak reopened.

   "I'm so excited, I want to cry," said one woman at the Chuhe Hanjie 
pedestrian mall, where about 75% of the shops had reopened. Shopkeepers were 
limiting the number of people they were letting in, dispensing hand sanitizer 
and checking customers for signs of fever.

   In Serbia, Hungary and other nations, concerns were rising that populist 
leaders may use the situation as an opportunity to seize more power and silence 
critics.

   A human rights expert said while she understands the need to act swiftly to 
protect people from the pandemic, the new states of emergency must include time 
limits and parliamentary oversight.

   "A state of emergency --- wherever it is declared and for whatever reason 
--- must be proportionate to its aim, and only remain in place for as long as 
absolutely necessary," said Ingibjrg Slrn Gsladttir of the Organization for 
Security and Cooperation in Europe.

   The economic devastation continued, with British Airways suspending all its 
flights at Gatwick Airport amid a collapse in demand as nations close borders 
and airlines slash flights.

   In Japan, the countdown clocks were reset and ticking again for the Tokyo 
Olympics. The clocks read 479 days to go, with the games now scheduled to kick 
off on July 23, 2021.


(KR)

 
 
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