China’s official death toll from the novel coronavirus topped 3,000 on Thursday, a stark reminder of the outbreak’s heavy human cost as the economic impact and international disruption widen.
At 3,012 deaths and 80,409 confirmed cases, China remains by far the worst hit overall. But the epidemic there is now slowing, while other countries are seeing outbreaks grow rapidly. In South Korea, mass testing has turned up almost 6,000 cases, with a death toll nearing 40. Italy has confirmed more than 3,000 cases, along with more than 100 deaths.
The full extent of the outbreak remains hard to ascertain, in part due to political considerations. Iran has announced 92 deaths and 2,922 cases, but hospital data obtained by The Washington Post suggests that number may be a vast underestimate. North Korea, another authoritarian state, has released little information about possible cases.
The United States confirmed its 11th death from the outbreak on Wednesday, along with more than 150 confirmed cases. Health experts have warned that the country may struggle to rapidly test thousands of Americans. President Trump downplayed worries on Wednesday evening, telling Fox News that a 3.4 percent mortality rate announced by the World Health Organization was “false” and suggesting it was under 1 percent. “This is really my hunch,” Trump said.
Financial markets had recovered some of the historic losses seen last week, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing nearly 1,200 points up Wednesday and Asian stocks notching modest gains Thursday. But there were signs of economic problems ahead, with more events canceled, more workers and students told to stay home, and more disruption to international travel.