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Coronavirus Cases Spike In China, Global Economic Impact Grows

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Coronavirus Cases Spike In China, Global Economic Impact Grows

Shortly after reporting a leveling in its COVID-19 infection rate, China’s count of new cases spiked to 15,152 Thursday. The mass of reports brings the country’s confirmed case count to nearly 60,000.

The spike doesn’t necessarily reflect accelerated transmission. Rather, the Hubei government adjusted its definition of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, which altered its counting mechanism.

About 90% of Thursday’s new patients were “clinically diagnosed” through a CT scan and observation of symptoms rather than through previously used and widely criticized nucleic tests.

Notably, the revised procedure was adopted only in Hubei, where the number of new diagnoses rose from 2,015 Wednesday to 14,840 Thursday. Using only the previous diagnostic scheme, the new case count rose by just 1,508.

Expansion of the new method to other provinces may yield even higher tallies.

While cases may or may not have accelerated, depending on how the sum is measured, local deaths have. In Hubei province alone, Thursday brought 242 deaths, according to CNN — more than doubling Wednesday’s total of 94.

COVID-19 has killed 1,367 in China. Japan and Singapore have each reported a death, as well.

Global Response To Coronavirus 

More than 25 other countries have confirmed 570 cases, including 14 across the U.S. states of Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington and Wisconsin.

The World Health Organization convened meetings of scientists this week to form a concerted response, and EU officials have likewise called for coordination.

About 60 million people are on lockdown in China to contain the virus, and in other countries, returned travellers have been quarantined on cruise ships or military bases.

Economic Impact From Coronavirus

Thursday’s spike in COVID-19 cases drove losses across global markets. Economists have forecast a 435,000-barrel-per-day drop in oil demand in the first quarter of 2020, marking the industry’s first decline in a decade.

"The onset of [the coronavirus] will likely have a large impact on both the world's economy and oil demand," the International Energy Agency said. "Consequences will vary over time, with the initial economic hit on transportation and services, likely followed by Chinese industry, then eventually exports and the broader economy."

Retail and automotives have reported disruption, and trade shows and sports events have been postponed. The Chinese government anticipates a full percentage-point decline in its first-quarter GDP. It has promised to cut taxes and provide other forms of industry aid to revive the economy.

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BofA Upgrades Las Vegas Sands And Wynn, Says Coronavirus Cases 'Leveling Out'

A street scene in Guangzhou earlier this month. Photo by zhizhou deng via Wikimedia.

 

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