US President Donald Trump warned Americans to prepare for a "very terrible" number of coronavirus deaths in the coming days, before Queen Elizabeth II made a rare speech on Sunday aimed at gathering the hard-hit Britain.
Worldwide deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic have risen to over 60,000, and Europe continues to bear the brunt of the virus that has left approximately half the planet at home.
There are now more than 1.2 million confirmed cases worldwide, and according to a report by Johns Hopkins University, around 65,000 people have died since the virus first appeared in China at the end of last year.
Trump said the United States entered "a time that will become very terrible" with "some really bad numbers".
"This will probably be the toughest week," he said in the White House. "There will be a lot of death."
At the same time, the president emphasized that the US – where the infections have exceeded 300,000 – cannot remain closed forever.
"Damage control works, but we won't destroy our country," he said. "I said it from the beginning – the cure cannot be worse than the problem."
There were over 45,000 deaths worldwide in Europe. Britain reported a new daily high in deaths, bringing the total number of victims from almost 42,000 to 4,300.
Queen Elizabeth II will deliver a rare, "deeply personal" speech on Sunday to urge people to take on the coronavirus challenge and to personally thank the health workers at the forefront.
"I hope that in the coming years everyone can be proud of how they reacted to this challenge," said the extracts published on Saturday.
The pandemic has affected the global economy. Businesses are badly affected as people are forced to stay indoors to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Governments have launched massive, unprecedented economic stimulus programs to alleviate the pain, but economists have warned that the crisis could worsen poverty and lose millions of jobs.
Poor economies like Iraq are struggling with charities and volunteers gathering to provide food to the needy.
"This is more dangerous than Daesh," said Iraqi volunteer Mustafa Issa, referring to the Islamic State jihadist group that passed through a third of the country in 2014.
Tide changes in Italy?
In the Vatican Pope Fran? Cis is expected to broadcast its Palm Sunday Mass live. St. Peter's Square is usually filled by Catholic believers on this occasion, but this year it will be empty due to corona virus containment measures.
However, there was some encouraging news from Europe over the weekend.
The worst-hit Italy cheered after the number of intensive virus cases dropped for the first time – from 4,068 on Friday to 3,994 on Saturday.
Even some of the most cautious Italian health officials used the numbers as evidence that the tide could turn in the deadliest disaster the country has faced since World War II.
"This is a very important data point," said Angelo Borrelli, chief of the civil defense service, adding that it "allows our hospitals to breathe."
The daily increase in new infections across Italy has also slowed. 681 new deaths were reported on Saturday, from a peak of almost 1,000 a little more than a week ago.
In Spain, which is almost completely banned, coronavirus-related deaths decreased for the second time in a row, with 809 deaths daily.
The total number of deaths in Spain is now 11,947, second only to Italy.
Although the number of new cases also slowed, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced that the country would be suspended until April 25.
In a field hospital in Madrid that was set up in a conference center, staff applauded when a patient was healthy enough to be discharged.
One of them was the 59-year-old master builder Eduardo Lopez, who gave the employees who looked after him "with tenderness and a large portion of humanity" a rating of "10/10".
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The state of New York's epicenter recorded a record 630 deaths in a single day, and Governor Andrew Cuomo warned that the worst was yet to come. The state has recorded a total of 3,565 deaths.
Cuomo also warned that hospitals that were already overloaded were not prepared.
New York City appealed to licensed medical personnel to volunteer.
"Anyone who's not in this fight yet, we need you," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Trump said 1,000 military personnel, mainly doctors and nurses, would be deployed to help in the city, which he described as "the hottest of all hot spots."
Several western countries, including the United States, Germany and France, have promoted the use of masks in public in the past few days, although it was previously said that only caregivers need to cover their faces.
The U-turn has angered and confused some citizens and triggered a number of online tutorials for DIY masks.
The advice came after some studies indicated that the new coronavirus can be spread by talking and breathing, not just coughing and sneezing.
The U.S. authorities said wearing a simple homemade mask or scarf could help lower infection rates.
The World Health Organization is reviewing its guidelines, but is concerned that masks may convey a "false sense of security", making people more relaxed washing their hands and social distancing.