Globally, the death toll from the virus has risen to almost 10,000 with more than 232,000 cases in 158 countries and territories.
The number of infections in Italy has also risen to more than 41,000, while cases in Germany, Iran and Spain rose to more than 15,000 each. Cases in the US also surged past 13,000, while the number of deaths hit 200, forcing the state of California to order a state-wide lockdown.
Germany – Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said the number of cases of COVID-19 rose by 2,958 overnight to 13,957. The number of fatalities rose by 11 to a total of 31 so far.
Spain – Spain’s Ministry of Health continue to report large numbers of COVID-19 cases. The latest numbers put the country at nearly 18,000 total cases and more than 800 fatalities.
Iran – As of Thursday, the official number of infections in Iran has reached more than 18,000 with 1,284 deaths.
South Jorea – South Korea has reported 87 new cases of the novel coronavirus and three more deaths, bringing its totals to 8,652 cases and 94 deaths.
Lassa fever – Nigeria
The Nigerian CDC reported an additional 51 confirmed Lassa fever cases during the week ending March 15, bringing the total for the first 11 weeks of 2020 to 906.
Ebola – DR Congo
There have been no new cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) reported in the ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 17 February 2020. However, because there is still a risk of re-emergence of EVD, it is critical to maintain surveillance and response operations until and after the end of outbreak declaration.
Coronavirus – Natural Pathogen
A new study finds that the coronavirus responsible for the current worldwide health crisis is a product of natural evolution and was not created in a lab as some rumors have claimed.
The evidence for natural evolution came from comparing the genome sequences of previously known coronavirus strains with that causing COVID-19.
If a new coronavirus had been engineered as a pathogen, it would have been constructed from the backbone of a virus known to cause illness, according to lead researcher Kristian Andersen of Scripps Research.
But writing in the journal Nature Medicine, Andersen and his team say they instead found that the backbone of the virus responsible for COVID-19 differs substantially from previously known coronaviruses, and mostly resembles viruses already found in bats and pangolins.
Coronaviruses can cause illnesses ranging widely in severity. The first known severe illness caused by a coronavirus emerged during the 2003 SARS epidemic in China. A second outbreak of severe illness began during 2012 in Saudi Arabia with a disease known as MERS.