Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

COVID-19 Impact Continues Globally as US Mobilizes Greater Response


According to the latest data, there are over 94,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, but over 51,000 of those cases have recovered. Yesterday (March 3), 42 new fatalities in Italy, Iran, France, Spain, and the United States (US) were added to the running total of approximately 3,200 fatalities. According to Johns Hopkins University’s 2019-nCoV Map of Global Cases, roughly 15 percent of confirmed cases have occurred outside of mainland China, including 138 confirmed cases in the US. The virus has been confirmed in approximately 14 states, with community-spread confirmed in both California and New York.

Johns Hopkins CSSE Coronavirus Global Cases Map, as of 3/04/2020 at 1:00 pm EST: link

This morning, lawmakers announced a deal to add roughly $8.3 billion to the US response. The deal will allocate funding for vaccine research and development, domestic public health response activities, and overseas response efforts. The bill is expected to come to a vote by the House later today. 

Healthcare departments, facilities, and workers across the US are preparing to respond to a wider outbreak. The Trump Administration is lifting restrictions on COVID-19 testing. Americans can expect to see an increase in testing over the next few days, and increased access to testing for those displaying mild symptoms. 

New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) activated their Emergency Operations Center (EOC), along with other state and local entities, in preparation to support coordination efforts and mobilize response operations. 

Abroad, countries are taking precautionary measures to prevent the continued spread of COVID-19. The United Nations (UN) has released $15 million to curb the spread of COVID-19, supporting the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) operations globally. Specifically, the funding will “help countries with fragile health systems boost their detection and response operations. It will fund essential activities including monitoring the spread of the virus, investigating cases, and the operation of national laboratories.” Additionally, the WHO announced an international shortage of medical personal protective equipment due to “panic buying, hoarding, and misuse of equipment.” To make sure health care workers are safe, the WHO asks countries to incentivize the medical supply industry to develop equipment at a faster rate.

Many tourist destinations across the world are closing or experiencing a decreased number of visitors, leading to economic instability and the closure of many small and medium size businesses. Large sporting events are also seeing the impacts of the virus, such as Tokyo cancelled its annual marathon with nearly 38,000 runners on February 29, allowing only elite runners and wheelchair athletes to compete. With the cancellation comes heightened concerns surrounding the 2020 Olympics, which are scheduled to take place in Tokyo this summer. 

The impact of COVID-19 on the global economy is apparent, with the US Federal Reserve slashing interest rates by half a percentage point. Beyond the US, the International Monetary Fund steering committee announced that global growth for 2020, originally anticipated to be as high as 3.3%, will be below the 2.9% that occured in  2019. The World Bank has pledged $12 billion to aid the economic response efforts and help stabilize the markets. The funds, which will be used to help countries improve their global health response, will be prioritized to countries that are the poorest in the world or are severely at risk. 

At a press conference yesterday, the CDC announced that as COVID-19 infections continue to progress throughout the US, communities should consider appropriate measures to reduce the spread of infection, including social distancing. Individuals should consult with their employers about their work-from-home and sick day policies if they start to feel ill.

While there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the CDC recommends using everyday preventative measures such as staying home when you are sick, avoid touching yours and others mouths and noses, and washing your hands for at least 20 seconds. The CDC recommends that people who are healthy refrain from using facemasks. Facemasks should be worn by health officials, people who show symptoms of COVID-19, and their caregivers. 

The Hagerty Team will continue to provide information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation. 

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