Confirmed coronavirus infections around the world were approaching a million on Thursday as the pandemic spread "almost exponentially" and a six-week-old baby became one of the youngest known victims.
Half of the planet is blocked in some way because governments have difficulty fighting a virus that has killed tens of thousands of people.
These restrictions – though necessary for health – can lead to global food shortages, experts have warned as supply chains break down and panic buying triggers export controls.
The death toll from COVID-19 continued its relentless rise. More than 46,000 people have died worldwide.
The United States, which now accounts for nearly a quarter of all infections reported worldwide, recorded 5,000 overnight, according to Johns Hopkins University. Death.
And, President Donald Trump said, it was going to get worse.
"We'll have a couple of weeks, starting pretty much right now, but especially in a few days they'll be terrible," he said.
"But even in the toughest times, Americans don't despair. We don't give in to fear."
The recent deaths in the U.S. included a six-week-old baby who was brought to a Connecticut hospital late last week.
"Tests confirmed last night that the newborn was COVID-19 positive," tweeted state governor Ned Lamont. "It is absolutely heartbreaking."
The new corona virus has mainly affected older people and people with pre-existing conditions, but a number of recent cases have shown that it can affect people from all walks of life.
The dead included a 13-year-old in France, a 12-year-old in Belgium and a 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdullah in the UK, whose family said the "gentle and kind" boy had no health problems.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, said the rapid spread of the disease was alarming.
"In the past five weeks, the number of new cases has increased almost exponentially and has reached almost every country," he said.
"The number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week. In the next few days, we will have one million confirmed cases and 50,000 deaths."
Britain and France reported their highest daily casualties from COVID-19 on Wednesday, although there were signs that the epidemic in Europe could peak.
Italy's toll – the highest in the world – rose over 13,000, while Spain exceeded 9,000.
However, epidemiologists said the infection rate continues to slow.
Fernando Simon, head of the emergency coordination department at the Spanish Ministry of Health, said the country may have peaked.
The United States is quickly becoming the most affected country. The total number of infections rises to over 215,000.
More than three quarters of Americans are locked up, including tens of thousands of prisoners who were told on Wednesday that they would remain in their cells for two weeks.
Officials also closed the Grand Canyon to prevent tourists from gathering there, and New York announced that the basketball courts would be closed as the city struggled with soaring infections and a highly stressed health system.
America's unwanted title as the most infected country was questioned in a Bloomberg report on Wednesday, in which US intelligence agencies quoted that China's infection rate was far worse than officially recognized.
China claims to have around 81,000 infections and 3,300 deaths.
Republicans, many of whom are naturally skeptical of Beijing, attacked China's numbers as "garbage propaganda".
"Without commenting on classified information, this is painfully obvious: The Chinese Communist Party has lied, lies and will continue to lie about coronaviruses to protect the regime," said Senator Ben Sasse.
After the Tokyo Olympics were postponed by a year, the pandemic claimed its youngest victim on Wednesday when the Wimbledon tennis tournament ended.
The cancellation of the oldest Grand Slam tournament in the world – for the first time since the Second World War – messes up the season and tennis is only played in mid-July.
Roger Federer declared himself "devastated" by the news, while Serena Williams said "I am shaken".
However, the loss of sporting events in industrialized countries faded compared to the difficulties posed to people in poorer parts of the world, where barriers threatened entire communities.
The residents of the South African townships say it is simply impossible to stay at home.
"We have no toilets … we have no water, so you have to get out," said Irene Tsetse, 55, who shares a one-bedroom hut with her son in the Khayelitsha community.
Experts warned that the macroeconomic impact of such measures could be far-reaching.
The Food and Agriculture Organization, WHO and the World Trade Organization said panic buying could jeopardize food supplies.
"Uncertainty about the availability of food can trigger a wave of export restrictions and lead to a shortage in the world market," they said.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)