Britain's own prime minister, Boris Johnson, was hospitalized, 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19 in what his office described as a “precautionary step.”
Amid the dire news, there were also glimmers of hope — the number of people dying appeared to be slowing in New York City, Spain and Italy. The news was cautiously welcomed by leaders, who also noted that any gains could easily be reversed if people did not continue to adhere to strict lockdowns.
And U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams offered a stark warning about the expected wave of virus deaths.
“This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment,’’ he told “Fox News Sunday.”
In a rare televised address to her country, meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth II also appealed to Britons to rise the occasion, while acknowledging enormous disruptions, grief and financial difficulties.
“I hope in the years to come, everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge,” she said. “And those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any.”
In New York City, the U.S. epicentre of the pandemic, daily deaths dropped slightly, along with intensive care admissions and the number of patients who needed breathing tubes inserted, but New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that it was “too early to tell” the significance of those numbers.
Italy and Spain also got some encouraging news. Italy registered its lowest day-to-day increase in deaths in more than two weeks — 525, said Angelo Borrelli, the head of the national Civil Protection agency. The pace of infection also seemed to be slowing.
Even so, Borrelli warned, “This good news shouldn’t make us drop our guard."
Confirmed infections fell in Spain, too, and new deaths declined for the third straight day, dropping to 674 — the first time daily deaths have fallen below 800 in the past week.
“We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said.
The outlook, however, remained bleak in Britain, which reported more than 600 deaths Sunday, surpassing Italy's increase. Italy still has by far the world’s highest coronavirus death toll — almost 16,000.
Johnson, meanwhile, has been hospitalized, though his office said it was not an emergency and that the 55-year-old Conservative will undergo tests. — AP