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The government has acknowledged that the real number of infections could be much higher due to limited testing. (via REUTERS)
The government has acknowledged that the real number of infections could be much higher due to limited testing. (via REUTERS)

Spain reports its highest number of coronavirus deaths in a day

  • New coronavirus infections in Spain rose nearly 8% overnight to 110,238
  • Spain is close to Italy, the country that so far has the worst outbreak in Europe

Spain on Thursday set a record in virus-related fatalities, with 950 deaths in 24 hours, even as its infection rate appeared to ease. New coronavirus infections rose nearly 8% overnight to 110,238, placing Spain close to Italy, the country that so far has the worst outbreak in Europe.

Health authorities say contagion in Spain has dropped from a daily average of 20% until March 25 to less than 12% after that date, more than 10 days after Spaniards were ordered to stay home. The government has acknowledged that the real number of infections could be much higher due to limited testing.

The worldwide race to protect people against unwitting coronavirus carriers intensified Thursday, pitting governments against each other in the race to buy protective gear and prompting new questions about who should wear masks, get temperature checks or even be permitted to go outside.

In the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic began in December, a green symbol on their smartphones dictates the movements of residents. Green is the "health code" that says a user is symptom-free and it’s required to board a subway, check into a hotel or enter the central city of 11 million. Serious travel restrictions still exist for those who have yellow or red symbols.

In northern Italy, the country with the most virus deaths in the world at over 13,000, guards armed with thermometer guns decide who can enter supermarkets. In Los Angeles, the mayor has recommended that the city's 4 million people wear masks.

A study by researchers in Singapore on Wednesday estimated that around 10% of new infections may be sparked by people who carry the virus but have not yet suffered its flu-like symptoms.

In response, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed how it defined the risks of infection, saying essentially that anyone may be a carrier, whether they have symptoms or not. It is yet to change its guidance against having everyone wearing masks.

But from New York to Los Angeles, U.S. officials warned that the worst is ahead.

“How does it end? And people want answers," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "I want answers. The answer is nobody knows for sure."

New York state's coronavirus death toll doubled in 72 hours to more than 1,900. Cuomo has already complained that U.S. states are competing against each other for protective gear and breathing machines, or being outbid by the federal government.

President Donald Trump acknowledged that the federal stockpile is nearly depleted of personal protective equipment used by doctors and nurses.

“We're going to have a couple of weeks, starting pretty much now, but especially a few days from now, that are going to be horrific," he said.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said even a “tucked-in bandanna" could slow the spread of the virus and remind people to keep their distance.

“I know it will look surreal," he said, donning a mask. “We’re going to have to get used to seeing each other like this."

In Greece, authorities placed an entire refugee camp under quarantine Thursday after discovering that a third of the 63 contacts of an infected woman tested positive for the virus — and none showed symptoms.

Altogether, close to 940,000 people around the world have contracted the virus, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 47,000 have died from the virus and another 195,000 have recovered.

The real figures are believed to be much higher because of testing shortages, differences in counting the dead and large numbers of mild cases that have gone unreported.

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