America could overtake Italy and become the new coronavirus epicenter after 'very large acceleration' in infections and 100 people dying in a day, warns WHO, just hours after Trump said he wants to get US 'open for business' in DAYS

The World Health Organization has warned the United States has the potential to become the new coronavirus epicenter following a 'very large acceleration' in infections. 
Over the past 24 hours, 85 percent of new cases were from Europe and the United States, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told reporters on Tuesday. Of those, 40 percent were from the United States.
Italy currently has the highest number of coronavirus deaths in the world with more than 6,000, after abruptly overtaking China - where the outbreak began in late December and 3,281 people have died - late last week. 
But the US is on pace to become the new leader after its death toll climbed to 586 as of Tuesday, a sharp rise of more than 200 since Sunday.  
Over the past week, there has been a surge of new cases as testing across the country increases. On Monday alone, more than 11,000 new positive cases were confirmed as the total number surpassed 46,400.
Fifteen hard-hit states are now in various forms of lockdown as experts say the peak is yet to come and that the current state of crisis will last for another several months, at least.  
Asked whether the United States could become the new epicenter, Harris said: 'We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the US. So it does have that potential.
'They [the US] have a very large outbreak and an outbreak that is increasing in intensity,' Harris added, noting that she expects large increases in case numbers and deaths globally, which currently stand at 392,780 and 17,159 respectively. 
The warning came hours after President Donald Trump said he will reconsider the nation's social distancing policy within a matter of days and promised America will be open for business 'very soon'.
The president has indicated he supports a return to normal life. But his comments were met with outcry from medical experts including Tom Inglesby, a director at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security.
Inglesby warned coronavirus will 'spread widely, rapidly, terribly and millions could die' if Trump lifts lockdowns in the United States early. He tweeted a thread aimed at 'anyone advising the end of social distancing'.
'America will, again, and soon, be open for business. Very soon,' President Trump said at the daily White House coronavirus briefing Monday. 
'A lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting. Lot sooner. We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself. We're not going to let the cure be worse than the problem.'
As the president talked economics and downplayed the medical portion, he was surrounded by fewer than usual numbers of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Attorney General Bill Barr and Dr Deborah Birx were present.  Dr Tony Fauci, the nation's foremost expert in infectious diseases, was not. In recent weeks, Dr Fauci has garnered a reputation for repeatedly contradicting Trump's claims about coronavirus.
President Trump complained about the caution brought by health care professionals, saying he told his team they would close the 'entire world'.
'I was telling them, if it was up to the doctors, they would keep it shut down, they would say "let's shut down the entire world."' You can't do that,' he said. 
The WHO epicenter warning came as:
  • New York state is expected to begin trials on Tuesday for hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug touted as a potential 'miracle' coronavirus treatment 
  • US airlines are believed to be working on plans for a complete shutdown of all passenger flights across the country as air-traffic control systems begin to feel the effects of coronavirus 
  • Seventeen states have issued stay-at-home orders affecting some 187 million Americans: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia
  • The Tokyo Olympics was postponed for a year after Japan called for a delay due to the coronavirus crisis 
Investors have also warned that Trump's desire to rapidly reopen the economy despite signs the coronavirus is still spreading may backfire, with higher deaths and citizens remaining fearful of going out. 
US markets have been roiled by the spread of the virus in the country and as states have shut parts of their economies.
Trump said on Monday that at the end of a 15-day shutdown period, which would run to the end of the month, 'we will make a decision as to which way we want to go'.
Last week, Trump urged Americans to halt most social activities for 15 days. It is unclear what power Trump actually has to simply turn the economy back on by executive order.
News of Trump reopening the US economy anytime soon would not be taken well by investors, who remain anxious about the coronavirus' uncertain trajectory and its economic toll, said Axel Merk, chief investment officer of Merk Investments.
'Markets will react badly because they have learned that this approach doesn't work,' Merk said. 'From a medical point of view, you have to break the exponential growth and you do that with shelter in place policies.'
The S&P 500 Index sank three percent on Monday. It is down more than 30 percent from its February 19 peak and is at levels not seen since the end of 2016, giving up nearly all of its gains from before Trump was elected. 
Initial estimates of the pandemic's economic fallout have grown bleaker in recent days.
US unemployment could hit 30 percent and second-quarter economic output could be half the norm, St Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said.
Jennifer Pline, head of wealth management for Cambridge Trust in Boston, said it is too soon to judge whether to reopen the economy just yet.
'As we're just starting to close things down fairly tightly, we need to wait a while until we get more traction and less contagion with the virus.'
The cost of a mistake could be deadly. A March 16 study by Imperial College in London predicts 2.2 million deaths in the United States in an unmitigated epidemic, with critical care bed capacity exceeded as early as the second week in April.
Economists at Northwestern University and Berlin´s Freie University estimated an 'optimal containment policy' in the United States would deepen the subsequent recession but save 600,000 lives.
Ellis Phifer, market strategist for Raymond James in Memphis, Tenn. said he has struggled with the question of whether it would be best to reopen parts of the economy.
'It's really hard to determine which costs more,' Phifer said of the dueling approaches of lifting restrictions sooner or later. 
On balance, he would be inclined to follow the advice of public health experts like Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who have largely advocated for more restrictions.
In an interview last week, Richmond Federal Reserve president Thomas Barkin said any call to try to resume normal economic activity will depend on widespread testing quick enough that businesses can establish protocols to ensure worker and customer safety.
David Kotok, chairman and chief investment officer of Cumberland Advisors, said what is imperative is to get accurate antibody tests, and to read the recovery rate as well as confirmed cases and deaths.
'I don't think the market will get the economic growth if people are dying all over the place,' said Kotok.
Others thought that the more important thing would be to get the economy back open.
'You leave this USA shut for another 60 days and you may have no economy or healthcare left,' said John Lekas at Leader Capital.
Rob Arnott, founder of asset manager Research Affiliates said the toll of job losses and other economic hardship that may stem from shutdowns and other measures could potentially be more harmful than the virus itself.
'Our way of handling this will kill a lot more people than it saves,' said Arnott.
But now the measures are taken and the population is fearful, there may be no going back.
Gregory Daco, Chief US, Economist at Oxford Economics, said even if the lockdowns were lifted, 'businesses and households would remain very cautious, and financial intermediation would remain under stress... And, with the rest of the world under lockdown, you would presumably further alienate yourself.'


In the most extreme measures to date, 100 percent of non-essential workforces have been ordered not to go to work to help curb the spread of COVID-19. 
Non-essentials gatherings of any kind have been banned, people over the age of 70 must stay indoors, and everyone must stay 6 feet away from each other in public.
Locked down: 39.5 million 
Deaths: 28 
Locked down: 3.5 million 
Deaths: 10
Locked down: 967,000
Deaths: 0 
Locked down: 12.74  million 
Deaths: 6 
Locked down: 4.66million
Deaths: 20 
Locked down: 8.9 million 
Deaths: 16
Locked down: 19.54 million 
Deaths: 76 
Locked down: 11.6million
Deaths: 3 
Locked down: 7.5 million
Deaths: 110
Locked down: 10 million
Deaths: 15
Locked down: 4.19 million 
Deaths: 4
Locked down: 12.81 million 
Deaths: 2
Locked down: 8.5 million 
Deaths: 7
Locked down: 6.7 million 
Deaths: 7
Powered by Blogger.