Wed, 12 Aug 2020

WHO: World Sets Record Daily Jump in Coronavirus Cases

Voice of America
05 Jul 2020, 07:05 GMT+10

The world saw a record 24-hour increase in the number of coronavirus cases Saturday - 212,326, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported.

The United States, Brazil and India led with the largest increases, the WHO daily report said. The previous record reported by the WHO was 189,077 on June 28. Deaths continue to be about 5,000 a day.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an increase Saturday of 52,492 cases for a total of 2,785,023. Deaths rose by almost 750 to 129,397. The U.S. set its daily total record of more than 55,000 on Thursday.

Brazil reported 48,105 new cases Saturday for a total of nearly 1,500,000 confirmed cases and nearly 62,000 deaths. India followed with nearly 23,000 new cases Saturday for a total of nearly 650,000 and total deaths of more than 18,600.

Record in Florida

In the U.S., Florida reported a record number of new confirmed cases, nearly 11,500, on Saturday. The Southern U.S. state has seen its new cases rise by more than 10,000 for the second time in three days.

On Friday, seven other states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alaska, Missouri, Idaho and Alabama - reported record increases in new cases. Texas hospitalizations rose to a new high.

Nearly 130,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, since January, and more than 2,700,000 have tested positive for the virus.

While the number of coronavirus infections has risen drastically recently, the nation's average daily death toll has gradually declined because more of the recent positive cases are younger people who are less likely to have severe outcomes.

However, the percentage of positive tests is rising in places. In Florida, for example, the percentage of positive tests rose to 14.8% compared with 8.3% two weeks ago, according to a Reuters analysis. The WHO says a rate of more than 5% is concerning.

'Let's not blow it'

Elsewhere around the world, England took its biggest step toward a return to normal Saturday when it allowed pubs, barbers and movie theaters to reopen.

"Let's not blow it now," Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged fellow Brits as they headed out for a pint or a haircut.

As other countries have emerged from lockdown, authorities have been working to quash virus clusters as they have popped up.

Some examples:

- Australia's Victoria state locked down nine public housing towers and three more Melbourne suburbs after 108 new cases. Premier Daniel Andrews said 3,000 people lived in the towers and "there will be no one allowed in ... and no one allowed out."

- Authorities in northeast Spain ordered a lockdown of El Segria County around the city of Lleida, home to more than 200,000 people, after health officials recorded a jump of 60 cases in 24 hours. The outbreaks were linked to agricultural workers in the rural area.

- And Tokyo confirmed 131 new cases, exceeding 100 for the third day in a row and hitting a new two-month high, prompting Governor Yuriko Koike to ask residents to avoid nonessential out-of-town visits.

Concerns are rising about a resurgence of infections as Japan is now nearly back to business as usual after its state of emergency was lifted in May.

- France said it was sending medics to its South American territory of French Guiana, where infections have surged as the virus swept neighboring Brazil.

Over the past week, 1,400 new COVID cases were confirmed in French Guiana, with a population of just 300,000, according to French health officials. The military is flying patients from saturated facilities to the French Caribbean island of Martinique for treatment.

- Finally, in South Africa, a growing hot spot as the pandemic picks up speed in parts of Africa, confirmed cases have climbed to more than 177,000, with a record 9,063 reported in the most recent 24-hour period.

If Africa's most developed country is struggling to manage the pandemic, that's ominous for less-prepared African nations. Confirmed cases across the 54-nation continent are now above 433,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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