Virus hope in the US as WHO hails global progress

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NEW YORK – The United States has logged a second consecutive day of fewer than 900 coronavirus deaths, as the World Health Organization hailed global progress but warned of the need for “extreme vigilance” against a second wave.

Optimism was tempered by the increasingly dire economic situation, with France showing a huge fall in activity last month and a warning that a major US airline would likely go under because of the pandemic, as jobs vanish and businesses go to the wall.

The virus has now killed more than 285,000 people, according to a tally compiled by AFP. The number of infections has surpassed 4.1 million.

Infection rates in many countries have started to slow, the World Health Organization (WHO) noted, with weeks of lockdown paying dividends.

“The good news is that there has been a great deal of success in slowing the virus and ultimately saving lives,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing.

But the global health body warned of a second wave of transmission, with emergencies chief Michael Ryan lamenting that some governments were choosing to “drive through this blind” by not ramping up capacity to test and trace.

Swathes of the US have opened up in recent days, despite warnings that the virus is not fully under control in the world’s worst-hit country.

There was some qualified good news for Americans on Monday, with a tally showing 830 deaths in 24 hours — a second consecutive day of fewer than 900.

Nevertheless, more than 80,000 people are known to have died from the disease since it hit America’s shores.

The true human cost could be much higher.

In a study, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of dead in worst-hit New York could be around 30 percent more than the official toll.

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