World Health Organization: About 3.4% of people infected with COVID-19 have died
On Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the global mortality rate for COVID-19 is 3.4%, meaning it's become more fatal than the common flu.
According to USA Today, this number primarily reflects the outbreak in China, the country where most of the world's COVID-19 cases have been detected.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the organization’s director general, said in a news conference in Geneva that Covid-19 was deadlier than the seasonal flu but did not transmit as easily. “Globally, about 3.4 percent of reported Covid-19 cases have died,” Dr. Tedros said. “By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1 percent of those infected.”
The estimate takes into account the increasing number of cases found outside of China.
The majority of these cases have been discovered in Iran, Italy and South Korea.
According to CNN, Iran is planning to temporarily release 54,000 people from prisons and deploy hundreds of thousands of health workers in an effort to detain coronavirus.
Iran's Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said the health ministry would oversee the release of prisoners, but did not elaborate on where they would be kept or how authorities would keep track of them, semi-official news agency ISNA reported.
"The health of the prisoners is very important for us regardless of their status as security prisoners or regular prisoners," Esmaili said.
The country's death toll had risen to 92 and a total of 2,922 of its residents have been infected.
CNN reports that as of Wednesday, Italy's schools and universities will be closed until mid-March.
A cabinet meeting in Italy is ongoing, and official word of the closures is expected soon.
According to the Associated Press, South Korea reported 435 new infections Wednesday, far smaller than its high of 851 a day earlier. A total of 5,621 people in South Korea have contracted the virus and 32 have died.
In Daegu, the South Korean city at the center of that country’s outbreak, a shortage of hospital space left close to 2,300 stranded and required to receive care in other facilities while waiting for a hospital bed.
In a recent statement, South Korea's Prime Minister Chung Se-Kyun, attempted to rally his country by saying “We can absolutely overcome this situation. ... We will win the war against COVID-19.”
THE UNITED STATES
The U.S. continues to take steps to ward off an extensive spread of COVID-19.
Vice President Mike Pence said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would lift all restrictions on testing for the coronavirus and would release new guidelines to fast-track testing for people who fear they have the virus, even if they were displaying mild symptoms.
The guidelines “make it clear that any American can be tested, no restrictions, subject to doctor’s orders,” Mr. Pence told reporters at the White House. The federal government had promised to ramp up testing after drawing criticism for strictly limiting the tests in the first weeks of the outbreak.
In addition to concerns about the availability of testing kits are questions about the availability of medical masks.
The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that the world will need 89 million medical masks each month to fight the coronavirus outbreak. Prices of surgical masks have increased sixfold, and N95 respirators have more than tripled.
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