Coronavirus cases surpassed 542,000 worldwide, with more than 24,000 deaths.
• The United States now leads the world with more than 85,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, overtaking China and Italy.
• Members of the U.S. House scrambled back to Washington fearing the record $2 trillion stimulus package may not pass by voice vote on Friday. The Senate passed it 96-0.
• Unemployment claims in United States skyrocketed to a record 3.283 million.
• President Trump tweeted that he discussed the coronavirus pandemic “in great detail” with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Spanish government has withdrawn 9,000 Chinese-made coronavirus testing kits from use after it emerged that they had an accurate detection rate of just 30%.
Like other countries struggling to diagnose and treat the virus, Spain has looked to China for rapid testing kits equipment and much-needed supplies, and announced this week that it would spend €432m (£390m) on tests, masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment.
However, a batch of Chinese-made kits bought by Spanish health authorities a few weeks ago has been pulled after they were discovered to be unreliable and the Chinese government said they had been made by a company that did not appear on its list of authorised manufacturers.
The threat of the coronavirus was looming over New York City, but Mayor Bill de Blasio was not especially worried. “I’m encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus,” he tweeted on March 2. There was an Italian film playing at Lincoln Center. He urged people to see it. The day before, New York City had confirmed its first coronavirus case. At the same time, the virus appeared to be taking devastating hold in Washington state and California, in what many public health officials were predicting was an ominous sign of things to come. Less than a month later, New York City is the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, with more than 20,000 cases and over 280 deaths. In part that’s because New Yorkers were caught between de Blasio’s indecision and President Trump’s inattention.