Thursday, 25 June 2020 07:07

Coronavirus Infections Could Reach 10M Next Week

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday that the number of coronavirus cases throughout the world could reach 10 million next week, a sharp increase from the 9.3 million cases currently reported.

Latin America has emerged as the world’s newest epicenter for the novel coronavirus pandemic, with the death toll surpassing 100,000.

The United States, however, continues to lead the world in infections with more than 2.3 million, about one-fourth of all infections worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics. The U.S. also continues to be the leader in COVID-19 fatalities, with over 121,000.

VOA Graphic - US COVID Cases Per Capita
WHO emergencies chief Dr. Mike Ryan, speaking at a news conference in Geneva along with Tedros, said the pandemic for many countries in the Americas still has not peaked, and that the outbreak in the region was "still intense," particularly in Central and South America.

Ryan said many countries in the Americas have seen increases in cases in the last week of 25% to 50%.

Tedros said the 10 million milestone projected for next week was “a sober reminder that even as we continue our research into vaccines and therapeutics, we have an urgent responsibility to do with the tools we have now to suppress transmission and save lives.”

The WHO chief said his organization was facilitating global efforts to overcome difficulties getting oxygen concentrators, which increase the flow of oxygen used by COVID-19 patients. “Demand is outstripping supply,” he said.

Brazil leads Latin America with 1,145,906 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 52,645 deaths, making it the world’s second-highest number of cases in both categories after the U.S. The nation recorded 39,436 new confirmed cases over the previous 24 hours as of Tuesday, including more than 1,300 deaths.

The pandemic has reached such a crisis that a federal judge ordered President Jair Bolsonaro to wear a face mask in public or pay a fine of nearly $400 a day.

Analysts attribute the rise in confirmed cases and deaths in Latin America to a combination of widespread poverty, widespread distrust of the government, and leaders, such as Bolsonaro and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who have either downplayed or dismissed the true risk of the virus and failed to impose stringent lockdowns.

In the U.S., there are new signs of a resurgence of coronavirus infections, even as states continue to relax lockdown restrictions. Infections are approaching their peak level of two months ago, and coronavirus hospitalizations and caseloads have reached record highs in over a half-dozen U.S. states.

The increases have been especially sharp in southern and western U.S. states.

According to The Washington Post, seven states – Arizona, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas – have reported their highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic in March.

The New York Times reported that European Union nations planned to stop U.S. citizens from crossing their borders because of what officials called the U.S. failure to control the virus.

The newspaper based its story on what it said were draft lists of who would be allowed to travel to the EU starting July 1. It said it confirmed the lists with two EU officials in Brussels, but the Times said none of the 27 EU members were obligated to adopt it.

The top U.S. infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told a congressional panel Tuesday that there would be more testing, not less, even after President Donald Trump said he asked health officials to slow down testing.

The White House said the president wasn’t serious when he said more testing was the reason there were so many cases in the U.S. But Trump said Tuesday that he wasn't joking.

Fauci also said he was cautiously optimistic a coronavirus vaccine would be available as early as the end of 2020. But he has previously said that even if a vaccine is ready, there is no guarantee it will work or give long-term protection.

New cases are also increasing in other parts of the world. India reported Tuesday a record daily spike of nearly 16,000 new cases. Mexico reported more than 6,200 new cases Tuesday, also a record single-day high.

China appeared to have contained a new outbreak in Beijing after testing nearly 2.5 million people in 11 days.


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