‘Still intense’: Worrying six-day virus spike

 

With the global number of coronavirus cases currently at 9.24 million, the World Health Organisation has predicted the grim milestone of 10 million infections will be reached sometime next week.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the number of new cases being reported was increasing exponentially.

"In the first month of this outbreak, less than 10,000 cases were reported to WHO. In the last month, almost four million cases have been reported," Dr Tedros said.

"We expect to reach a total of 10 million cases within the next week."

This milestone reflects the scary new pace with which the virus is spreading. WHO figures reveal it took 100 days for worldwide cases to reach 1 million, but only six days for them to go from 8 million to 9 million, and this pace shows no sign of slowing.

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Dr Tedros also told a news briefing he backed Saudi Arabia's decision to ban pilgrims from abroad from attending the annual Haj pilgrimage to help limit the spread of the virus.

He said WHO was now supporting many countries in dealing with difficulties obtaining oxygen concentrators, devices which boost the flow of oxygen to support the breathing of COVID-19 sufferers.

"Demand is outstripping supply," he said.

 


Dr Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies program, said the pandemic for many countries in the Americas had not yet peaked and that it was "still intense" - especially in Central and South America.

"I would characterise the situation as still evolving, not having reached its peak yet, and likely to result in sustained numbers of cases and deaths in the coming weeks," Dr Ryan said.

Many countries in the region have experienced 25-50 per cent increases in cases in the last week, he said.

In the United States, new COVID-19 cases have surged to the highest level in two months.

According to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the US on Tuesday reported 34,700 new virus cases.

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That's one of the highest numbers of cases reported since the outbreak began, only surpassed on April 9, when 34,800 cases were reported, and April 24, when a record 36,400 cases were reported.

New cases in the US have been surging for more than a week, after they had been trending down for more than six weeks.

The US has more known cases of coronavirus than any other country, with more than 2.4 million people infected and more than 124,000 dead.

 

In Europe, Slovenia's government reintroduced the mandatory use of face masks in closed public spaces and on public transport on Wednesday after a spike in cases in recent days.

Health Minister Tomaz Gantar said Slovenia has confirmed 20 new cases since June 20, with the total number of positive cases in the country at 1541 with 109 deaths.

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India reported a record daily increase of nearly 16,000 new cases on Wednesday. And in Mexico, where testing rates have been low, a record was also set with more than 6200 new cases.

But China appears to have tamed a new outbreak of the virus in Beijing, once again demonstrating its ability to quickly mobilise vast resources by testing nearly 2.5 million people in 11 days.

Originally published as 'Still intense': Worrying six-day virus spike


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