WASHINGTON - The coronavirus pandemic has brought creativity to the many people around the world under lockdown in their respective nations, as well as an outpouring of support for the health care workers who are caring for those infected with COVID-19.
In Britain on Thursday, a war veteran completed his mission of walking 100 lengths of his 25-meter back garden ahead of his 100th birthday to raise money for the country’s National Health Service.
An online fundraising campaign initially aimed to get donations of about $624,000. By the time Tom Moore finished his final trip down the course, an event broadcast on live television, the initiative had brought in more than $15 million.
He said he was inspired to take on the challenge by the care he received when he underwent treatment for a broken hip and for cancer.
"You've all got to remember that we will get through it in the end, it will all be right, it might take time," Moore said. "At the end of the day, we shall all be OK again."
When and how people will emerge from stay-at-home orders, as well as the restarting of businesses around the world, is a huge question facing governments.
Getting economies moving again
Leaders have expressed a desire to get their economies moving again, and along with health experts they have cautioned there is a need to not move too early and risk a spike in infections in places that have started to bring the virus under control.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to allow some schools to reopen beginning May 4, following similar plans in other European countries. She said some shops could reopen next week.
In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country is not yet ready to loosen restrictions. He urged Canadians to be patient, saying they still “a number of weeks away.”
U.S. President Donald Trump is among those who have been most vocal in pushing to restart the country’s economy, which is the largest in the world. He is expected to announce new guidelines Thursday, though health officials have said dropping restrictions in early May would be too soon and ultimately those decisions will be up to individual state governors.
Trump is also set to take part Thursday in a video conference with other G-7 leaders to discuss a coordinated response to the pandemic.
He drew fresh criticism Wednesday from former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and U.S. billionaire Bill Gates about his decision to suspend funding for the World Health Organization.
Carter issued a statement saying the WHO “is the only international organization capable of leading the effort to control this virus.”
Gates, a major funder of the WHO, said the decision was "as dangerous as it sounds."
The United States is the world’s largest contributor to the WHO, with its more than $400 million contribution in 2019 amounting to about 15 percent of the organization’s budget.
Trump accused the Geneva-based organization of failing to obtain independent reports about the coronavirus originating from China’s central city of Wuhan and relying instead on China’s official reports. Beijing officials initially tried to downplay the dangers of the new strain of coronavirus. Trump said the funding will be suspended pending an investigation into the WHO’s handling of the outbreak.
The United States is now the worst-hit country with nearly 640,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, out of more than 2 million infected people worldwide.