Signs of hope in Spain and Italy; Stemming the economic impact of COVID-19; South Korea flattened the curve. What happens next?

The World
A photographer wearing a protective blue glove and is holding a picture of the very street they are standing in — presently empty and in the photo filled with people.

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With more reported US cases of the novel coronvirus than in Italy and Spain — the next highest-hit countries — combined, the US surgeon general warns Americans to brace for "our Pearl Harbor moment" in the coming week. In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19, and urged to temporarily hand over power.

But Spain and Italy are showing signs of hope, as new infections and death tolls are starting to slow. And in Ethiopia, researchers are testing a treatment integrating modern science with traditional medical knowledge. 

What does this coronavirus sound like? Scientists at MIT have made a musical representation of the virus's amino acid and protein structure. It's surprisingly soothing.  

More: 'We were trapped for too long': coming back to life after lockdown in Wuhan

Also: Tiger tests positive for coronavirus at Bronx Zoo, first known case in the world

Stemming the economic impact of COVID-19

The US passed a historic $2 trillion package late last month, but implementing the economic bailout for workers and businesses has been fraught with missteps. The World asks how the US stimulus compares to those of European countries.

The coronavirus pandemic leaves regulators and bankers in Europe wondering if they have done enough to "crisis-proof" their system.  

In East Africa, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have sent nearly $160 million to Kenya and Rwanda to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 and support emergency medical funding.  

And: 'Kill your earnings': Jim Cramer’s surprising take on the coronavirus crisis

South Korea flattened the curve. What happens next?

South Korea has won praise for how it's flattened the curve of COVID-19 infections. But a rise in imported cases threatens to roll back some of the country’s progress. “It's easy to be self-congratulatory at this point, but it's really just the first wave and you’ll have to wait for the next one,” said Dr. Jerome Kim of the International Vaccine Institute.

South Korea has a well-known reputation for being a so-called “delivery nation.” But the country is being forced to confront an ugly truth: Convenience can come with a cost. Earlier this month, a deliveryman working for a massive, Amazon-like online retailer called Coupang died on the job. His colleague thinks overwork was the cause. 

More: How to persuade others social distancing works

International doctors can help the US fight COVID-19. But can they get here?

One in four doctors in the US were born in another country. Many are on visas, often working in poor or rural areas that may soon be the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic and leave them at risk for falling ill themselves.

But unlike other US doctors, who might be citizens or legal permanent residents, for doctors working on visas, getting sick could have implications for their visa status.

“Once we’re disabled, we can’t work; then, we can’t live in the country,” one Indian doctor in Iowa told The World.

Coronavirus has changed how we transport goods and ourselves. But will it last?

American Airlines passenger planes parked due to flight reductions made to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on March 23, 2020.

American Airlines passenger planes parked due to flight reductions made to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on March 23, 2020.


Reuters/Nick Oxford/File Photo

The coronavirus pandemic has done more to curb flying than any social movement ever could. Global air travel has plummeted since the crisis started. Airlines around the world have cut up to 95% of trips. 

Although many travel habits and systems will likely return to normal once the pandemic subsides, climate advocates hope the disruption could be a catalyst for systemic changes in how we transport our goods and ourselves. At least some of the behavioral changes resulting from social distancing measures may “stick,” they say — and that could be good news for the climate, too.

Morning meme

As the Easter holidays approach, children may be wondering what stay-at-home orders mean for the Easter Bunny. In New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the Easter Bunny is, indeed, an "essential worker" — even though he might need some help with egg hunts this year. 

In case you missed it

Listen: Countries are spending big to stop economic losses

A older woman is shown holding a mask to her face as she walks past a shop with a metal gate pulled down.

A woman walks past a shuttered shop as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues in London, Britain, March 24, 2020.


Kevin Coombs/Reuters

The US is rolling out its largest economic stimulus package in history. Other countries are also spending big to stop losses caused by the coronavirus crisis, but there are some differences in how they do it and who benefits. And, Iran is one of the countries worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more than a month, health authorities have struggled to contain the outbreak. Also, after much early success, South Korea is taking steps to prevent a secondary coronavirus outbreak.

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