On a day of gloom, scientists offered a ray of hope: the first effective treatment against the coronavirus.
The US government said it is working to make the antiviral medication remdesivir available to patients as quickly as possible after a major study found it shortened the time it takes for Covid-19 patients to recover by four days on average – from 15 days to 11.
The news came as US deaths from the novel coronavirus passed 60,000 on Wednesday and the outbreak will soon be deadlier than any flu season since 1967.
The United States has the world’s highest coronavirus death toll and a daily average of 2,000 people died in April of the highly contagious respiratory illness Covid-19.
Fears that Covid-19 could trigger the biggest global recession for a century heightened with the grim figures from the United States, and further bad news from European powerhouse Germany and a host of major companies worldwide.
Almost 3.2 million people have been infected worldwide, with the global death toll from the virus exceeding 225,000. The US alone has more than 1 million confirmed cases.
But Britain, which still lacks a plan to exit lockdown, dramatically raised its death toll by 4,419 to 26,097, as the country began including deaths in places such as care homes for the first time.
The outbreak however appears to be under control in China, the world’s second biggest economy, where the virus was first detected late last year in the city of Wuhan.
On Thursday, China reported four new coronavirus cases for April 29, down from 22 a day earlier, data from the country’s health authority showed.
All of the cases were imported, the National Health Commission said. It also reported 33 new asymptomatic cases over the day, up from 26 a day earlier.
The total number of confirmed cases has now reached 82,862. With no new deaths on Wednesday, the toll remained at 4,633.
Bodies found in unrefrigerated trucks in New York
The city of New York delivered a freezer truck to a funeral home on Wednesday after it was found to be storing dead bodies on ice in unrefrigerated U-Haul vehicles.
The eyewitness saw bodies in a U-Haul van and said two vans and a truck were parked outside the funeral home.
ABC News reported about 100 bodies were stored in the vehicles after the owner of the Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Services funeral home said the freezer that normally stores bodies stopped working.
It was not clear how long the bodies had been stored in the U-Hauls or whether any were Covid-19 victims, but a law enforcement official said there were about 50 bodies.
The bodies were found after neighbours reported an odour and “leakage” coming from the trucks, New York media reported.
“For weeks already, there have been trucks constantly outside unloading bodies. You could smell the death,” Jay Fredo, 57, said. “Some of them have been dropped. I know it’s a pandemic, but this is crazy. It’s sick.”
The law enforcement official said no criminal charges were brought, but the home was cited for failing to control the odours.
New York City has been at the epicentre of the global coronavirus pandemic and the city’s funeral homes have been overwhelmed. As of Wednesday afternoon, 18,076 people has died of Covid-19 in America’s biggest city.
Funeral homes say they are facing weeks-long backlogs to bury or cremate the dead.