It took 67 days from the first report of COVID-19 to reach 100,000 cases; 11 days for the second 100,000 coronavirus infections, and just four days for the third 100,000 infections.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on March 24, 2020

The rapid increase of infections of the coronavirus COVID-19 has led the World Health Organisation (WHO) to warn that the coronavirus pandemic is “accelerating”.

It took 67 days from the first report of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, on 31 December last year, to reach 100,000 cases; 11 days for the second 100,000 coronavirus infections, and just four days for the third 100,000 infections of COVID-19 as the virus sweeps through Europe, the US and Australia.

Related: Life after the virus – the economic world of 2021

Related: Industries being destroyed by COVID-19 infections

The Geneva-Switzerland-based United Nations body urged countries to adopt rigorous testing and contact-tracing strategies for the coronavirus.

“What matters most is what we do. You can’t win a football game by defending. You have to attack as well,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a joint news conference with FIFA President Gianni Infantino to launch a “kick out coronavirus” campaign featuring footballers.

Dr Tedros said asking people to stay at home and other physical-distancing measures were an important way of slowing down the spread of the virus, but described them as “defensive measures that will not help us to win”.

“To win, we need to attack the virus with aggressive and targeted tactics – testing every suspected case, isolating and caring for every confirmed case, and chasing and quarantining every close contact.”

Dr Tedros appeared to be criticising the reluctance of western governments to take the draconian lockdown measures that were quickly enforced in China after the coronavirus outbreak began.

In Germany, the UK and Australia people have been advised by the governments to practice social distancing, and businesses told to ensure staff work at home where possible, rather than a nationwide lockdown.

coronavirus, COVID-19

The European country of Italy offers clues as to what may happen next in the UK, Germany and Australia.

When coronavirus infections began in Italy, authorities locked down affected “red zone” areas in the north of the country. As cases continued to spread, the entire country was put on lockdown on 9 March, with a US$232 fine and six months’ prison time for people who break the lockdown.

Hundreds of thousands of Italians have been given police citations for flouting the ban, and a Chinese Red Cross official last week said Italy’s measures, now among the strictest in Europe, weren’t strict enough, CNN reported.