Virus update: Medical oxygen in short supply worldwide; Fauci says next few weeks critical to slow spread
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Virus update: Medical oxygen in short supply worldwide; Fauci says next few weeks critical to slow spread

As the coronavirus spreads, soaring demand for oxygen is bringing out a stark global truth: Even the right to breathe depends on money. In much of the world, oxygen is expensive and hard to get — a basic marker of inequality both between and within countries.

In wealthy Europe and North America, hospitals treat oxygen as a fundamental need, much like water or electricity. It is delivered in liquid form by tanker truck and piped directly to the beds of coronavirus patients. Running short is all but unthinkable for a resource that literally can be pulled from the air.

But in poor countries, from Peru to Bangladesh, it is in lethally short supply. The result is that the poor and the unlucky are left gasping for air.

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Here's an update on all developments. Scroll or swipe further for in-depth coverage.

  • The next few weeks are critical to tamping down a disturbing coronavirus surge, Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress on Tuesday — issuing a plea for people to avoid crowds and wear masks.
  • California recorded a striking 5,019 new cases on Monday — topping the state's daily case record for the fourth time over the past week. It's among 26 states — a number also on the rise — that are seeing new cases increase compared to the previous week. In too many places, the pandemic is quickly "spiraling out of control," one expert said.
  • Medical experts and elected officials have attributed the rising virus numbers in Florida to a combination of more testing and more social contact as businesses reopen and, in recent weeks, to people's participation in large protests, although that has not been clearly established.
  • Traders are showing signs Wednesday that they're getting uncomfortable with recent rises in COVID-19 cases. The price of gold, the essential safe haven asset, has climbed above $1,776 per ounce, its highest level in nearly eight years.
  • Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis appeared in a newly released PSA on coronavirus urging people in his hometown to wear masks.
  • Americans are likely to see more “for rent” signs in the coming months as many businesses devastated by the coronavirus pandemic abandon offices and storefronts and potentially end a long boom in the nation's commercial real estate market.

For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further for maps and charts tracking the spread as well as basic health tips.

Back to basics: Health and safety tips to remember during the pandemic

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