New York – Americans were preparing for what the highest-ranking government doctor warned on Sunday that it will be “the hardest and saddest week” of their lives, while Britain took on the unwanted post of being the country with the most deaths from the coronavirus in Europe after registering a record increase in deaths in the last 24 hours, surpassing even Italy.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized 10 days after being diagnosed with COVID-19. It was a “preventive measure,” his office said, noting that the 55-year-old conservative politician would undergo analysis.
The director of public health of the United States, Jerome Adams, offered a gloomy warning on the panorama of deaths in the country due to the virus.RELATED
“This will be our Pearl Harbor moment, our September 11,” he told Fox News Sunday.
New York City, the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, received a ray of hope after Governor Andrew Cuomo reported that the number of daily deaths decreased slightly, as did the number of intensive care admissions and number of patients requiring intubation. Either way, he warned that “it is too early to determine” how significant those figures are.
Italy and Spain also received encouraging news. Italy recorded its smallest daily increase in deaths in more than two weeks, of 525, said Angelo Borrelli, director of the national Civil Protection agency.
The speed with which the virus is spreading also seems to slow down: the country registered 4,316 new cases on Sunday, while the daily rate at the beginning of the outbreak was over 6,000.
Either way, Borrelli warned, “This good news shouldn’t make us let our guard down.”
The number of confirmed cases in Spain also registered a decrease, and the number of new deaths fell for the third consecutive day, to 674, the first time that the number of daily deaths fell below 800 in the last week.
“We started to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said the president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez.
The outlook remains bleak in Britain, which registered 708 deaths from the coronavirus on Saturday, compared to 631 in Italy. With more than 600 deaths reported on Sunday, the UK adds more than 4,900 deaths from the virus among its nearly 48,000 confirmed infections. Italy still has by far the highest death toll from coronavirus worldwide: nearly 16,000 among its 130,000 confirmed cases.
There are fears that the Johnson government has not taken the virus seriously enough in the early stages of the outbreak and that the spring weather is tempting the British and people in other countries to break the rules of social distancing.
In an unusual message to the nation, Queen Elizabeth II called on the British to exercise self-discipline at an “increasingly difficult time.” The 93-year-old monarch said the pandemic has caused tremendous disruption, pain, financial hardship and overwhelming challenges for all. It was only the fourth time since he began his reign in 1953 that he made such a message.
“I hope that in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge,” he said. “And let those who come after us say that the British of this generation were as strong as anyone.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said sunbathing is not allowed in public spaces and that the UK could ban exercising outdoors if people “continue to violate the rules.”
“The vast majority of people are following public health advice, which is extremely crucial, and staying at home,” Hancock told Sky TV. “But there is still a minority of people who don’t, and honestly, it’s amazing to see that.”
As the number of infections increases, the deputy director of Britain’s National Agency for Healthcare Providers said the agency needs to quickly focus on increasing the number of respirators it has and obtaining more protective equipment for healthcare professionals.
“I think we are only a week away from this going off,” Saffron Crodery told Sky TV.
Italians have also not been immune to the appeal of good weather. The country’s top officials spoke on national television after photographs showing large crowds of shopping were posted in Naples, Rome, Genoa and even in the city of Padua in the devastated Veneto region.
The deputy governor of Lombardy said cell phone data revealed that about 38% of the region’s inhabitants were outside their homes, the highest number since March 20.