A grim day of Covid-19 milestones here and around the world suggests no relief is in sight from the pandemic.

All signs suggest countries are battling in the thick of the fight against the coronavirus, rather than getting on top of it.

Yesterday, New Zealand suffered its first Covid-19 death, and climbed to more than 500 confirmed cases. Authorities warn case numbers will continue to rise in the next two weeks during the lockdown. They will hope to use that period to bring case numbers down, test and trace infections, build up medical supplies and stay vigilant at the border.

Australia by yesterday afternoon had 3640 cases and 14 deaths. More than 650,000 people have been infected worldwide, with more than 30,000 deaths.

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Overseas, Italy's ghastly death toll passed 10,000 from 92,000 cases. Those who died there in the previous 24 hours totalled nearly 900 — twice the number killed in Islamic terror attacks in Europe in the past decade. There is some light in Italy's darkness. According to Ourworldindata.org, one of the key indicators — the rate at which death rates double — is slowing. Italy's total is doubling every seven days. Its Government is introducing a €4.3 billion ($7.9b) spending package to go with a €25b stimulus.

Spain's daily death rate is doubling every four days, with the country likely to surpass 6000 today from 73,000 infections.

France, which has introduced tough restrictions, has overtaken Iran in case numbers — more than 38,000 — and in deaths, which are more than 2000.

Britain, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the infection, reached its own unwanted milestone of 1000 deaths from more than 17,000 cases.

The US situation is the most concerning, from developing data on the outbreak to the growing political row over how it is being handled. US deaths took nearly a month to reach 1000 and only two days to reach 2000. It is now topping the world for cases, with more than 124,000, leaping by 20,000 in a single day for the first time.

New York has become the epicentre of the pandemic in the US, with more than 50,000 cases and 700 deaths. But other areas are of concern, including California — and the cities of Detroit, New Orleans, and Chicago.

How the coronavirus is dealt with in the US is becoming increasingly politicised with tensions between some state governors and the White House spilling over into public clashes. Twenty-two of the 26 US states where governors have issued statewide restrictions for the virus voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 or have a Democratic governor.

US President Donald Trump, who has criticised the Democratic governors of New York and Michigan, yesterday proposed and then backtracked on introducing quarantine measures to New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut — a move New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called "a federal declaration of war on states".

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The message here remains: Stay at home. Be kind. Save lives.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website