Italian death toll overtakes China’s as coronavirus spreads

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A view of the corridor outside the intensive care unit of the hospital of Brescia, Italy, Thursday, March 19, 2020. Italy has become the country with the most coronavirus-related deaths, surpassing China by registering 3,405 dead. Italy reached the gruesome milestone on the same day the epicenter of the pandemic, Wuhan, China, recorded no new infections. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. (Claudio Furlan/LaPresse via AP)

ROME — The death toll in Italy from the coronavirus overtook China’s on Thursday, and infections in the United States climbed past 10,000, in a stark illustration of how the crisis has pivoted toward the West.Italy, with a population of 60 million, recorded at least 3,405 deaths, or roughly 150 more than in China — a country with a population over 20 times larger.

Italy reached the bleak milestone the same day that Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged three months ago, recorded no new infections, a sign that the communist country’s draconian lockdowns were a powerful method to stop the virus’ spread.On Thursday, a visiting Chinese Red Cross team criticized Italians’ failure to properly quarantine themselves and take the national lockdown seriously.

Meanwhile, the virus appeared to be opening an alarming new front in Africa and also reached at least one European head of state: 62-year-old Prince Albert II of the tiny principality of Monaco. The palace announced that he tested positive but was continuing to work from his office and was being treated by doctors from Princess Grace Hospital, named after his American actress mother.

The damage to the world’s largest economy kept piling up, with unemployment claims surging in the United States, as Congress rushed to pass a $1 trillion emergency package to shore up industry and help households pull through the crisis. The first of two possible rounds of relief checks will consist of payments of $1,000 per adult and $500 for each child.

The American death toll rose to 160, primarily elderly people. Johns Hopkins University, which has been tallying the virus’ spread around the world, said the US had more than 10,700 cases.

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