NIH: UP TO 70,000 CASES NEXT WEEK; 20% OF POPULATION NOW ON LOCKDOWN; ECONOMY DETERIORATING FAST

NIH: UP TO 70,000 CASES NEXT WEEK

As many as 70,000 Americans could be confirmed as infected with coronavirus by the end of next week, marking a “pretty dramatic” increase in the number of confirmed cases, the director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, told his employees in an agency-wide conference call on Friday.

But, Collins cautioned, “that doesn’t mean necessarily that the outbreak has exploded at an even more rapid rate.”

20% OF POPULATION NOW ON LOCKDOWN

ILLINOIS joined New York and California in lockdowns to curb coronavirus spread, as the Governor announced a “shelter in place” order on Friday.

The order, limiting all residents to stay in their homes unless absolutely essential, goes into effect at 5pm on Saturday and will last until April 7, Governor J.B. Pritzker said.

As COVID-19 cases continue to climb, Illinois is the latest U.S. state to take strict steps to help tackle the deadly virus.

Between New York, California and Illinois, more than 70 million residents are now being ordered to stay home amid the pandemic.

This accounts for more than 20 percent of the U.S. that is now under lockdown.

“We have to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Pritzker said in a tweet hours before the official announcement.

ECONOMY DETERIORATING FAST

The U.S. economy is deteriorating more quickly than was expected just days ago, as extraordinary measures designed to curb the coronavirus keep 84 million Americans penned in their homes and cause the near-total shutdown of most businesses.

In a single 24-hour period, the governors of three of the largest states – California, New York and Illinois – ordered residents to stay home, except to buy food and medicine, while the governor of Pennsylvania ordered the closure of nonessential businesses. Across the globe, health officials are struggling to cope with the growing number of patients, with the World Health Organization noting that while it required three months to reach 100,000 cases, it took only 12 days to hit another 100,000.

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