Coronavirus Global

Global Coronavirus Case Count Surpasses 20 Million : Coronavirus Live Updates – NPR

A mural in Chennai, India, celebrates workers on the front lines against the coronavirus pandemic. The global case count crossed the 20 million threshold on Monday, with the U.S., Brazil and India in the lead.

Arun Sankar/AFP via Getty Images

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Arun Sankar/AFP via Getty Images

A mural in Chennai, India, celebrates workers on the front lines against the coronavirus pandemic. The global case count crossed the 20 million threshold on Monday, with the U.S., Brazil and India in the lead.

Arun Sankar/AFP via Getty Images

More than 20 million people worldwide have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Monday evening, nearly five months to the day after the World Health Organization declared it a global pandemic.

This is according to data from Johns Hopkins University, which puts the total number of deaths globally at nearly 734,000.

On Monday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, acknowledged that “behind these statistics is a great deal of pain and suffering” and urged governments and citizens worldwide to do their part to suppress the virus.

“I know many of you are grieving and that this is a difficult moment for the world,” he said. “But I want to be clear, there are green shoots of hope and no matter where a country, a region, a city or a town is – it’s never too late to turn the outbreak around.”

The U.S. leads the world with more than 5 million coronavirus cases and 163,400 deaths.

U.S. Hits 5 Million Coronavirus Cases As Debate Lingers Over The Path Forward

After surging in July, infections remain widespread in much of the U.S., especially in the South, West and parts of the Midwest. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday that 11 states had recorded more than 10,000 new cases in the previous week.

The country is logging more than 1,000 deaths per day, or about 40 people an hour, as NPR’s Allison Aubrey has reported. The coronavirus is on track to become the third leading cause of death in the U.S. this year, following cancer and heart disease.

Two other countries have case counts in the millions: Brazil is at more than 3 million and India surpassed the 2 million mark last week.

They are followed by Russia, South Africa, Mexico and Peru.

While many countries in Europe and Asia were largely able to bring the virus under control earlier this spring, cases have surged there and in other parts of the world.

The Philippines has overtaken Indonesia as the coronavirus hot spot in Southeast Asia. Mexico has the world’s third highest death toll after the U.S. and Brazil. Australia is struggling with a COVID-19 resurgence, and has greatly restricted the city of Melbourne in an effort to slow the spread.

Ghebreyesus said that there are two elements to addressing the pandemic effectively: leaders taking action, and citizens embracing new measures.

He cited several examples of countries that have successfully clamped down on the virus. He called New Zealand, which has gone more than 100 days without community transmission, as a “global exemplar.”

In New Zealand, Life Is Ordinary Again After 1src1 Days With No Community Spread

In Rwanda, he said, a “similar combination of strong leadership, universal health coverage, well-supported health workers and clear public health communications” helped make progress.

Many countries are using all available public health tools to respond to new spikes, he said. For example, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson put parts of northern England under stay-at-home orders and French President Emmanuel Macron mandated masks in busy outdoor areas.

Ghebreyesus encouraged all countries to focus on rapid case identification, contact tracing, clinical care, physical distancing, mask wearing and good hygiene practices to slow the spread of the virus.

“Whether countries or regions have successfully eliminated the virus, suppressed transmission to a low level, or are still in the midst of a major outbreak,” he said. “Now is the time to do it all, invest in the basics of public health and we can save both lives and livelihoods.”

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cooling Global

Global cooling 13000 years ago was caused by volcanic eruptions – Daily Mail

Earth cooled rapidly 13,000 years ago and the reason behind this is a series of volcanic eruptions which caused the average global temperature to drop by 3°C, a study claims.

It was previously believed that a meteorite impact was responsible, but a new study has found this to be incorrect. 

Previous theories were based on geological findings which had incorrectly been attributed to rocks landing from space. 

However, new analysis of the rock sediments shows they instead came from deep within Earth and were projected to the surface via violent eruptions. 

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Earth cooled rapidly 13,000 years ago and the reason behind this is a series of volcanic eruptions which caused the average global temperature to drop by 3°C, a study claims (Stock)

The world-cooling period is known as the Younger Dryas and is associated with early human settlers and the extinction of the woolly mammoth. 

Study co-author Professor Alan Brandon, of at the University of Houston, said: ‘This work shows that the geochemical signature associated with the cooling event is not unique but occurred four times between 9,000 and 15,000 years ago.

‘Thus, the trigger for this cooling event didn’t come from space.

‘Prior geochemical evidence for a large meteor exploding in the atmosphere instead reflects a period of major volcanic eruptions.’

Volcanic eruptions spread particles into the atmosphere, which reflect thermal energy from sunlight away from the surface. 

A period of ‘global cooling’ can follow a volcanic blast for one to five years, depending on the time frame and scale of the eruption.

Co-author Professor Steven Forman, of Baylor University in the US, said: ‘The Younger Dryas, which occurred about 13,000 years ago, disrupted distinct warming at the end of the last ice age.

‘The Earth’s climate may have been at a tipping point at the Younger Dryas, possibly from the ice sheet discharge into the North Atlantic Ocean, enhanced snow cover and powerful volcanic eruptions that may have in combination led to intense Northern Hemisphere cooling.’

Analysis of chemicals found in the soil at Hall’s Cave in the Texas Hill Country found  traces of rare elements, including osmium, iridium, ruthenium, platinum, palladium and rhenium.

However, they were not in the ‘correct’ amounts to have been added by a meteor or asteroid.

Instead, the geosignatures indicated a volcanic origin, not extraterrestrial.  

Pictured, archaeological excavations at Hall’s Cave. Experts exposed sediments for geochemical analysis that span from circa 20,000 to 6,000 years ago 

Seemingly benign volcanoes can be much more violent than previously feared 

Volcanoes that appear to be benign can be much more violent than previously feared due to volatile magma hidden deep below the surface, a study shows. 

Scientists studied volcanoes on remote islands in the Galápagos Archipelago in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador. 

They found volcanoes that reliably produce small lava eruptions of basalt, an igneous rock, hide chemically diverse magmas in their underground plumbing systems.

These include some that have the potential to generate ‘explosive activity’ and could pose an unexpected safety risk for local authorities in the future. 

Lead author doctoral student Nan Sun also, of the University of Houston, said: The signature from the osmium isotope analysis and the relative proportion of the elements matched that previously reported in volcanic gases.’

Co-author Dr Kenneth Befus also at Baylor University added: ‘These signatures were likely the result of major eruptions across the Northern Hemisphere, including volcanoes in the Aleutians, Cascades and even Europe.

The experts say that the period of cooling lasted around 1,200 years, far too long to have been caused by a single event. 

Professor Forman said: ‘A sole volcanic eruptive cause is an important initiating factor, but other Earth system changes, such as cooling of the oceans and more snow cover were needed to sustain this colder period.

‘This is not the first time scientists have looked at other explanations for the sudden cooling.’

The researchers doubted their theory when confronted with the evidence, but after investigating all possible explanations for the cooling, the only viable explanation was a volcanic one. 

Professor Brandon said: ‘I was skeptical. We took every avenue we could to come up with an alternative explanation or even avoid this conclusion.

‘A volcanic eruption had been considered one possible explanation but was generally dismissed because there was no associated geochemical fingerprint.’ 

The findings were published in the journal Science Advances.

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Global report

Global report: coronavirus infections in India pass 1m mark – The Guardian

India has become the third country to record more than 1m coronavirus infections, following the US and Brazil, as it reported 34,956 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking the national total to 1,003,832.

The escalating infections in India come as new peaks continued to appear around the world, including an alarming rise in France’s Brittany region.

Amid evidence that the disease was taking hold in poorer, rural areasof India less well-served by public healthcare, the latest tally prompted renewed concerns about the country’s ability to cope with rising infections.

The figures have been released after a week in which authorities in India were forced to impose new lockdowns, including fresh restrictions on 128 million people in the state of Bihar, which came into force on Thursday.

The continuing and escalating outbreaks, on top of record cases in the United States – which passed 75,000 daily cases in the last count – has dampened hopes that the pandemic is anywhere close to being brought under control, even as researchers race to find a viable vaccine.

Three states in India – Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu – account for more than half of the total cases in the country so far. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, warned that the vast majority of cases in the country were still being missed.

Coronavirus deaths in India – graph

The continuing rise has forced authorities to reinstate lockdowns in some cities and states.

In Bangalore the government ordered a week-long lockdown that began on Tuesday evening after a rapid increase in cases.

Dr Anant Bhan, a global health researcher, said India was likely to experience a series of peaks as the virus spread in rural areas. He said the capital, New Delhi, and the financial capital, Mumbai, had already recorded surges, while infections have now shifted to smaller cities.

India’s response to the virus was initially sluggish, but then on 24 March the prime minister, Narendra Modi, imposed a three-week nationwide lockdown of its 1.3-billion population.

By Friday more than 13.8m infections had been confirmed worldwide and nearly 590,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University, with Brazil topping 2m infections at the end of the week and the US more than 3m.

Countries around the world have moved quickly to reintroduce restrictions as outbreaks flare up again. Ada Colau, the mayor of Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city, announced a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people from Saturday as part of a package of measures to curb an increase in coronavirus cases in the Catalan capital.

“We have to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people … Only 10 people will be allowed in weddings and funerals from Saturday,” Colau told a press conference. Residents were also urged to shop online and cultural and sports events will also be limited.

In France, which had already announced plans to make mask wearing mandatory in enclosed public spaces, authorities reported a sharp rise in the infection rate in Brittany. According to data released on Friday, the disease’s reproduction rate in Brittany had risen from 0.92 to 2.62 between 10-14 July.

“It’s a worrying number because it means the epidemic is taking off again,” Eric Caumes, an infectious disease specialist at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris, told BFM TV.

In China, flights into the city of Ürümqi in the far-western Xinjiang region were restricted on Friday, and underground and public bus services suspended, according to local social media.

The latest outbreak has underlined the continuing difficulty China faces in stamping out the virus – even with its imposition of draconian measures – which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

Amid fears around the world over the ease in which new resurgences have escalated after countries relaxed restrictions, Hong Kong reported 50 new locally transmitted cases on Friday, stoking further concern about a third peak of infections in the global financial hub.

Tokyo hit a daily high of 293 infections as Japan tries to keep the world’s third-largest economy running while curbing infections, a precarious balancing act of opening restaurants and theatres with limited seating, and having store clerks work behind plastic shielding.

“We have asked people and businesses to raise their alert levels,” said the Tokyo governor, Yuriko Koike. She said the recent higher numbers partly reflected more aggressive testing.

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Calls Global

EU calls for global alliance to buy COVID-19 vaccines up front – Reuters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission called on Wednesday for global leaders to cooperate to buy bulk quantities of potential COVID-19 vaccines, to avoid “harmful competition” in the race for a shot and ensure any future vaccine is available for poor countries.

With around a dozen potential vaccines now in human trials, rich countries have been rushing to buy up doses in advance from pharmaceutical companies, to make sure they will have enough supply should any prove successful.

The European Commission, the EU executive arm, is worried that such competition could raise the prices of vaccines for everyone, and also leave many countries, mostly poor ones, struggling to obtain a supply.

“When it comes to fighting a global pandemic, there is no place for ‘me first’,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

The EU is planning to spend around 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) on the advance purchase of vaccines in testing on behalf of the 27 EU states.

EU countries are also pursuing their own initiatives, with Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands making a joint deal last week with drugmaker AstraZeneca to buy up front its vaccine under development.

Washington has so far made clear it is prioritizing its own citizens for COVID-19 vaccines.

Von der Leyen said she is trying convince “a significant number” of world leaders to join forces and buy vaccines up front together.

FILE PHOTO: Scientists are seen working at Cobra Biologics, they are working on a potential vaccine for COVID-19, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Keele, Britain, April 30, 2020. REUTERS/Carl Recine

The EU is co-hosting a global virtual summit on vaccine strategy next week, at the end of a fund-raising campaign to secure funds to distribute potential coronavirus shots to poor countries.

AstraZeneca, France’s Sanofi, and U.S. firms Pfizer, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna are among companies trialing vaccines against the coronavirus.

($1 = 0.8881 euros)

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Editing by Peter Graff

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Global Reuters

Global coronavirus deaths top 400,000 as outbreak grows in Brazil, India: Reuters tally – Reuters

A woman wearing a protective mask walks past a healthcare camp set up for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slums, Mumbai, India, June 7, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

(Reuters) – Global deaths from the novel coronavirus topped 400,000 on Sunday, as case numbers surge in Brazil and India, according to a Reuters tally.

The United States is responsible for about one-quarter of all fatalities but deaths in South America are rapidly rising.

The number of deaths linked to COVID-19 in just five months is now equal to the number of people who die annually from malaria, one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases.

Global cases are approaching 7 million, with about 2 million, or 30%, of those cases in the United States. Latin America has the second-largest outbreak with over 15% of cases, according to Reuters tally.

The first COVID-19 death was reported on Jan. 10 in Wuhan, China but it was early April before the death toll passed 100,000, according to the Reuters tally of official reports from governments. It took 24 days to go from 300,000 to 400,000 deaths.

The United States has the highest death toll in the world at almost 110,000. Fatalities in Brazil are rising rapidly and the country may overtake the United Kingdom to have the second-largest number of deaths in the world.

The total number of deaths is believed to be higher than the officially reported 400,000 as many countries lack supplies to test all victims and some countries do not count deaths outside of a hospital. (Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open in an external browser.)

Writing by Lisa Shumaker; editing by Jane Wardell

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Coronavirus Global

Global coronavirus cases surpass 5 million, Johns Hopkins data shows – CNBC

60-year-old Gertrud Schop lights candles arranged in the shape of a cross, with one candle dedicated to each of the more than 8,000 German Covid-19-related victims, in Zella-Mehlis, eastern Germany on May 19, 2020.

Jens Schlueter | AFP via Getty Images

Reported Covid-19 cases around the world reached 5 million on Thursday as some countries begin easing strict social distancing guidelines and look to reopen their economies, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

The number of reported cases worldwide hit 5,000,038 and the global death toll now stands at 328,172, according to Hopkins.

The latest morbid milestone comes as the spread of the coronavirus across the world shows no signs of slowing down. Even as outbreaks in China and other countries appear to have abated, the pandemic has picked up speed in other parts of the world. The World Health Organization said Wednesday the number of newly reported coronavirus cases worldwide hit a daily record this week with more than 100,000 new cases over the last 24 hours.

Almost two-thirds of the cases were reported in just four countries, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference at the agency’s Geneva headquarters. “We still have a long way to go in this pandemic.”

The majority of new confirmed cases are coming from the Americas and led by the U.S., followed by Europe, according to the WHO’s daily report. The U.S. reported 45,251 new cases on Tuesday, according to the agency. Russia had the second most reported cases Tuesday at 9,263, according to the WHO.

Delayed epidemics

Eastern Europe is experiencing a delayed epidemic but could implement lessons that have been learned at great costs in Asia, North America and Western Europe, according to WHO officials. Russia has surpassed the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy as the country with the second-highest number of infections, according to JHU data.

“There are differences right now between Western Europe, which has been through that first big wave, and Eastern Europe, particularly Russian Federation, that is now experiencing higher numbers of disease,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s emergencies program, said at a press briefing on May 8. 

WHO officials have warned against easing coronavirus restrictions and reopening economies too quickly, saying it could lead to a “vicious cycle” of economic and health disasters as cases resurge and officials have to reinstitute lockdowns. 

It’s a “false equation” to choose between the economy and public health, Ryan said. “The worst thing that could happen,” economically, is that a country reopens and then has to shut down again to respond to a resurgence of the virus, Ryan said.

Some countries, such as Singapore, were able to control Covid-19 at first but have since seen cases jump in more densely populated areas, WHO officials said. Long-term care facilities and prisons — where people live closely together — are at especially high risks of outbreaks and officials need to find ways of preventing the virus from transmitting from person to person. 

Reopening the U.S.

In the U.S., all 50 states are beginning to reopen businesses even as models suggest it will lead to a steady rise in the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths over the next couple of weeks.

The number of newly reported cases in the U.S., which accounts for nearly a third of all cases globally, has outpaced all other countries in the world when compared with the same period of time, according to data from Hopkins. 

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CNN on Sunday that reopening isn’t entirely dependent on a vaccine. The U.S. has tested a greater number of asymptomatic people compared with other countries, he said. 

The U.S. is now conducting more than 300,000 tests per day and has run roughly 10 million tests total. That’s still a small portion of the country’s population of approximately 328 million people.

Some of the most populated states in the country, including California and New York, have slowly started to reopen their economies in phases as the states continue to report declining hospitalization rates.

New York has allowed curbside retail and manufacturing jobs to resume in a handful of regions in the state while California is allowing those activities to resume statewide, although local jurisdictions can continue to enforce their own stay-at-home orders. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and California Gov. Gavin Newsom both said Monday that their states could resume professional sports without spectators soon. 

Other states have allowed for greater reopening of their economies across the state. In late April, Georgia allowed businesses such as gyms, hair salons, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors to reopen as long as they followed certain social distancing guidelines. 

Texas on Monday allowed exercise facilities, nonessential manufacturing plants and office buildings to reopen with 25% capacity and other social-distancing guidelines. In-store retail services, dine-in restaurant services, movie theaters, shopping malls, museums and libraries could open with 25% occupancy under certain conditions.

— CNBC’s William Feuer, Berkeley Lovelace Jr.Jasmine Kim and Hannah Miller contributed to this report. 

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Global warming

Global warming is making hurricanes stronger, study says – USA TODAY

Published 5:58 p.m. ET May 18, 2020


Who says we can’t control the weather?

Human-caused global warming has strengthened the wind speeds of hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones around the globe, a new study released Monday said.

These storms, collectively known as tropical cyclones, are some of nature’s most powerful and destructive storms. Category 5 Hurricane Dorian, for example, laid waste to portions of the Bahamas last year as the storm’s 185-mph winds cut through the nation like a buzzsaw. 

Scientists studied 40 years of satellite images to reach their conclusions.

“Our results show that these storms have become stronger on global and regional levels, which is consistent with expectations of how hurricanes respond to a warming world,” said study lead author James Kossin of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

Global warming, aka climate change, is caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, which release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere. This has caused the planet to warm to levels that cannot be explained by natural factors. 

The study was led by scientists from NOAA and the University of Wisconsin and was published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

Kerry Emanuel, a hurricane expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was not involved in the study, said the findings were “much in line with what’s expected,” according to the New York Times.

Scientists said that the chances of hurricanes becoming a Category 3 or higher have increased each of the past four decades. Much of the death and destruction from hurricanes comes from storms of Category 3 strength or higher, which are known as “major” hurricanes.

“The change is about 8% per decade,” Kossin told CNN. “In other words, during its lifetime, a hurricane is 8% more likely to be a major hurricane in this decade compared to the last decade.”

The study only looked at hurricanes’ wind speed, not their rainfall or storm surge, Kossin said.

The research builds on Kossin’s previous work, published in 2013, which identified trends in hurricane intensification across a 28-year data set. However, says Kossin, that timespan was less conclusive and required more hurricane case studies to demonstrate statistically significant results.

“The study agrees with what we would expect to see in a warming climate like ours,” said Kossin. “It’s a good step forward and increases our confidence that global warming has made hurricanes stronger.”

NOAA will release its forecast for the 2020 hurricane season on Thursday. Most forecasts from other research groups are calling for an active season, which has already gotten underway with Tropical Storm Arthur spinning off the Southeast Coast this week. 

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Coronavirus Global

Global Coronavirus Cases Surpass 4 Million, With U.S. Reporting Most Deaths – Newsweek

More than 4 million cases of the novel coronavirus have now been diagnosed worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The education and research institution, which updates its digital tracker cataloging global COVID-19 figures at least twice daily, initially reported the number on Saturday, totaling individual case counts from 187 countries and regions across the globe confronting ramifications of the pandemic. The tracker indicated that at least 50,000 additional cases were identified by Sunday morning.

More than 50 percent of cases detected since the virus first emerged last December were currently active on Sunday, the university’s statistics showed. Of roughly 4.05 million people who contracted the illness overall, about 1.38 million had recovered, while nearly 280,000 had died. Those calculations suggested close to 2.4 million people were still infected worldwide, with the United States reporting the highest incidence of cases as well as resulting fatalities.

The U.S. became the new coronavirus pandemic’s global epicenter at the end of March, when the number of cases confirmed nationwide surpassed those separately confirmed by Italy and China, which had previously reported the world’s highest- and second-highest case counts. At the time, at least 92,000 people had tested positive for the disease across a handful of U.S. states, more than 1,200 of whom had died.

As Newsweek reported on March 27, the U.S. had recently seen a surge in diagnoses, having confirmed more than 50,000 positive cases over the three-week period following its 100th diagnosis. The data, originally published by The Financial Times, pointed to a forthcoming outbreak curve more severe than those experienced in any other affected country.

The U.S. reported the world’s highest number of deaths due to the virus several weeks later, in mid-April, and continues to report more fatalities than any nation worldwide. As of Sunday morning, more than 1.3 million cases of the new coronavirus had been confirmed, with at least 78,855 deaths and 212,534 recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracker. New York has experienced the gravest outbreak compared to any U.S. state. About 25 percent of cases diagnosed nationwide have been confirmed in New York, as have more than 30 percent of deaths.

New York City, Coronavirus
New Yorkers are pictured walking through Manhattan while wearing masks on May 9. New York has diagnosed the highest number of cases and deaths related to the new coronavirus compared to any U.S. state. Globally, the U.S. has reported significantly more positive cases and resulting fatalities than all other countries affected by the pandemic.
Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty

Though U.S. cases and subsequent fatalities account for roughly one-third of global totals in both respects, additional analysis included in the university’s online coronavirus resource center has noted that the country’s observed case-fatality ratio is lower than others that have experienced significant outbreaks. The populations of those countries—like the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium and Germany—are much smaller than that of the U.S.

Government officials across the globe, as well as within the U.S., have responded to downward trends in new diagnoses, hospitalizations and deaths related to the new coronavirus recorded in recent weeks. Many national and local administrations have begun to lift stay-at-home orders and non-essential business closures imposed at the pandemic’s onset, or intend to do so in the coming weeks. Several U.S. states have launched reopening procedures—although those hardest hit, for the most part, remain closed.

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Global markets

Global markets recoil as Trump threatens US-China trade war – The Guardian

Donald Trump’s threats to reignite the US-China trade war over coronavirus has triggered another sell-off in global financial markets, as the economic costs of the pandemic continue to mount.

Against a backdrop of rising tension between the world’s two economic superpowers, share prices resumed a downward slide on Friday with the FTSE 100 falling by 144 points, or 2.5%, in London.

Selling pressure resumed on Wall Street after recording gradual gains in recent weeks amid rising hopes a turning point had been reached for the coronavirus crisis. As fears over the economic costs from the disease mount and as the White House ramped up the threat of a renewed trade conflict with Beijing, the Dow Jones industrial average fell by more than 2% in afternoon trading in New York.

Stock prices fell sharply in Japan, with the Nikkei index of leading Japanese company shares sliding by more than 500 points, or 2.8%. Markets in China, Hong Kong and South Korea were closed for public holidays.

Despite world leaders starting to outline plans to lift lockdown measures more than a month on from the depths of the crisis, the economic fallout from tight controls on social and business activity during the Covid-19 outbreak are now becoming increasingly clear.

Faced with a deep recession in an election year, Trump escalated his attack on Beijing by claiming he had seen evidence showing the virus originated in a Chinese laboratory. The US president is increasingly making China’s handling of the pandemic a major issue as his ratings sag ahead of his November re-election campaign.

Reports suggested the White House is crafting renewed import tariffs that would be applied to Chinese imports in retaliation, in a major escalation of the trade standoff.

The US and China had signed the first phase of a trade deal earlier this year to de-escalate trade tensions between Washington and Beijing that had damaged global growth last year and sapped business investment around the world.

However, progress has been derailed at the onset of a blame game over Covid-19 as the number of infections around the world climbs, with the US recording the highest official death toll of any country so far.

Analysts warned a renewed US-China trade conflict, as the world heads for the worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s, could inflict additional damage for jobs and growth.

Brad Bechtel, of the US bank Jefferies, said: “It seems that as we start to unwind lockdown measures and head back into election season the Trump administration will amp up the blame-game rhetoric, further alienating China.”

Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at the financial trading platform IG, said a trade war was the “last thing markets want right now”.

As the economic costs from the coronavirus mount, unemployment in the US has surged by more than 30 million in the past six weeks. US growth figures this week showed that the American economy contracted by 4.8% in the first three months of the year, the sharpest decline since 2008.

Major companies issued a barrage of negative updates on Friday as businesses around the world count the financial costs of lockdown. Against a backdrop of plunging oil prices as demand for crude evaporates with economic activity in developed countries close to a standstill, the US oil company ExxonMobil reported a loss after $3bn was wiped off the value of its oil reserves.

In the UK, Royal Bank of Scotland took an £800m profit hit because of the pandemic’s economic effects, while Ryanair said it was planning to cut 3,000 jobs and reduce staff pay by up to a fifth in response to the crisis.

Chris Iggo, of the investment management firm Axa, said recovery momentum in financial markets over recent weeks was fading amid the growing realisation that exiting lockdown measures would be difficult.

“There is lots to ponder about how we emerge from lockdown … Social distancing and a high level of focus on health will remain features of our lives for some time to come.”

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