World's coronavirus cases climbing at record level to 40 million

Oct. 18 (UPI) — Coronavirus cases worldwide have surged to around 40 million, growing about 1 million every three days.

Since the first cases were identified in Wuhan, China, last December, infections have grown to 40,051,150 in tracking by Worldometers.info and 39,745,033 by Johns Hopkins.

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With a mortality rate of 2.8%, the death toll stands at 1,115,827, according to Worldometers.

Infections have been increasing at double the percentage of fatalities: 0.93% vs. 0.50%.

On Saturday, 5,567 deaths were reported compared with 372,552 cases.

On Friday, 413,277 cases were reported, exceeding 400,000 in a single day for the first time following consecutive record highs with 382,462 new cases on Wednesday and 397,083 Thursday.

The United States remains the leader in fatalities with 224,295 and cases at 8.3 million. Brazil is second in deaths at 153,690, while India has the second-most infections with 7.8 million but third in fatalities with 114,031. Brazil is third with 5,224,362 infections.

Coronavirus has been especially spiking in Europe, where the virus was largely contained a few months ago.

On Saturday, the continent reported 143,429 new cases, 38.5% of the world’s total, as well as 1,099 deaths.

Four European nations are in the top 10 for deaths (No. 5 Britain, No. 6 Italy, No. 7 Spain, No. 9 France) and three are in the top 10 for cases (No. 4 Russia, No. 5 Spain, No. 8 France) with Britain 11th.

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On Sunday, Britain reported 67 additional deaths for 43,646 in fifth place. Saturday’s 150 was the most since 159 on June 10 with the daily high 1,172.

In addition, the 16,982 cases were less than the record 19,722 on Wednesday.

The British government is considering a “circuit-breaker” lockdown to control the outbreak. This move has been backed by the opposition Labor Party but opposed by the cabinet.

“It would seem an error to try to impose on every part of the country the same level of restriction when we know that the disease is spreading more intensively and quicker in some parts of the country,” UK Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said Sunday.

He added that the epidemiology is “different” this time.

Italy, which at one time was the world’s epicenter and reached 919 in one day, reported 69 deaths and a record 11,705 cases, surpassing the mark of 10,925 cases Saturday. The nation has reported 36,544 deaths.

Italian premier Giuseppe Conte plans to announce Sunday night new emergency measures, possibly including ordering bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m.

A resident at Casa Santa Marta, the building that houses Pope Francis and other clergy members, has tested positive but is asymptomatic and in quarantine, the Vatican said Sunday.

In Spain’s Catalonia region around Barcelona, bars and restaurants have closed. Spain has 33,775 deaths and reported no data this weekend after announcing 222 deaths and 12,169 cases, behind the record 14,087 on Sept. 18.

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France had reported 33,292 deaths, including 89 Saturday as well as 32,427 cases, topping the record of 30,621 two days earlier.

Like elsewhere in Europe, Paris and eight other French cities with a population of about 20 million were empty as a new curfew was enforced. The month-long curfew runs from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. nightly.

Russia is 11th in deaths at 24,187, including 185 more Sunday, but has the fourth-most cases in the world with 1,399,334, including 15,099, slightly less than the record of 15,150 two days earlier.

Russia has ruled out a full lockdown with bars and restaurants remaining open. But in Moscow, children in first to fifth grade will be placed in remote learning for two weeks when they come back from school holidays on Monday.

In all Europe has reported 6.9 million cases and 238,693 deaths.

Asia has the most cases in the world with 12.4 million but fewer cases than Europe at 223,430.

India has led the world in daily reported deaths and cases. On Sunday, the nation announced 85,529 new cases as well as 1,033 deaths. Until Saturday deaths were in triple digits since Oct. 2. India holds the world record for most cases in a single day with 97,894.

Iran reported 252 deaths, four days after a record 279 and is 10th overall.

Israel has begun easing its restrictions after reporting low cases, 141 Sunday after 874 Saturday. The peak was 11,316 on Sept. 23, two weeks after Rosh Hashanah.

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“If we all follow the rules, then I am certain that this will work,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “Another thing, I have said that if it appears that it is not working, if it appears that we are going backwards, then we will have no choice but to retighten the restrictions.”

Easing includes allowing people to venture more than from their homes with natural parks and beaches to reopen. Also, restaurants can serve takeout instead of just delivery.

The pandemic in the Far East has subsided, including China, the original epicenter with 4,634 deaths and none since April 26, as well as 85,672 cases with 13 more Sunday.

Japan reported 11 deaths Saturday for a total of 1,661 with fatalities climbing as high as 19 on Sept. 5 after a record high of 49 on May 4. It also reported 632 new cases after a record high of 1,998 on Aug. 3.

South Korea announced one death Sunday for a total of 444, as well as 91 cases. On Aug. 2 it reported 441 cases and its high since April was six.

On Monday, South Korea relaxed some rules on social distancing, allowing nightspots to re-open and spectators to attend sports events. But South Korea is mandating masks at all crowded facilities, on public transport and at demonstrations.

The Western Hemisphere has reported more than 613,000 deaths, including 334,184 in North America and 279,023 in South America.

Besides Brazil, Peru is eighth, Colombia 11th, Argentina 12th, Chile 15th and Ecuador 17th.

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From peaks of 1,554 deaths and 70,869 cases on July 29, the numbers have subsided. Since 1,090 deaths on Sept. 15, there hasn’t been a quadruple-digit day, including 461 Saturday. Cases were 22,792 on Saturday.

But the nation of nearly 213 million has conducted far fewer tests than other nations, around 17.9 million for an average of 84,035 per million compared with 376,564 in the United States.

In North America, all but around 14,000 deaths are in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Mexico reported 355 more Saturday.

Canada has been reporting a spike in cases. On Saturday, the nation announced 2,15, behind the record of 4,042 Tuesday. Between May 26 and Aug. 30 cases were never more than 1,000.

The nation is 21st in deaths, adding 24 Saturday for a total of 9,746.

Borders among the U.S., Mexico and Canada remain closed through Wednesday but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expects that ban to last much longer.

“The U.S. is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening those borders,” he told the hosts of Smart Start, which airs on Canada’s Global Television Network. “We will continue to make sure that Canadian safety is top of mind when we move forward. We see the cases in the United States and elsewhere around the world, and we need to continue to keep these border controls in place.”

Between May 26 and Aug. 30 cases were never more than 1,000.

In the worst shape are the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

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“I think this second wave is really exhausting,” Trudeau said. “It’s frustrating for everyone to have to keep going through this. We showed that we can pull together and get through this, as we did in the spring. Then people got used to the slow burn in the summer. Now that cases are spiking again — with the approach of winter, with the approach of flu season — we need to get things back under control.”

He added, however, that he believes the situation is different this time around.

“We know how to do it in a more targeted way now than in the spring,” Trudeau said. “We know what kinds of businesses are more likely to spread COVID-19, what kinds of activities.”

The outbreak never was severe in Oceania.

There are 942 deaths with Australia at 904, which is up four in one week, with Zealand remaining at 25 since one on Sept. 16.

On Sunday, New Zealand reported three cases for a total of 1,886 and Australia with 8 for 27,391.

Last week New Zealand reported its first community case — as opposed to being imported — in Auckland on Sunday for the first time in three weeks.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won by a landslide in a general election in response to her government’s handling of the response to the pandemic.

A lockdown in Australia’s Victoria ended after more than 100 days for the 5 million residents. They will be allowed to travel as far as 16 miles from home. On Nov. 1 the lockdown will be totally lifted, including most businesses allowed to reopen.

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“These lockdowns have come with pain and damage and hurt, but the strategy is working,” Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters. “As other parts of the world are going into a deadly winter, with lockdowns and restrictions that are heartbreaking.”

Summer starts on Dec. 1 in the Southern Hemisphere.

In Africa, there have been 39,656 deaths, led by South Africa with 18,408, including 38 more Saturday followed by Egypt at 6,109 with 10 more. South Africa has the 12th-most cases in the world at more than 700,000, including 1,928 more Saturday.

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