NEW YORK: Global cases of the novel coronavirus reached over 8 million as infections surge in Latin America and the United States and China face fresh outbreaks.
The United States still leads the world with the highest number of infections, about 2 million or one-quarter of all reported cases. The outbreak is growing fastest in Latin America, which now accounts for 21 percent of all cases.
The first case was reported in China in early January and it took until early May to reach 4 million cases. It has taken just five weeks to double to 8 million cases. Global deaths currently stand at over 434,000 and have doubled in seven weeks.
The number of cases and deaths have surged in Brazil making it the second-largest hot spot in the world. Brazil’s official death toll from the pandemic has risen to nearly 44,000, but the true impact is likely far greater than the data shows due to a lack of widespread testing.
In the United States, which has over 116,000 deaths, testing is still ramping up months after the start of the outbreak. Many areas in the United States are now reporting record new cases and hospitalisations after cases declined in much of the country for weeks.
There are fears of a second wave in worst-affected states or a failure to get a grip on the first wave have led health experts to plead with the public to wear masks, avoid large gatherings and maintain social distance.
China is also grappling with a resurgence of the virus just as its economy is trying to recover from shutdowns earlier this year. After nearly two months with no new infections, Beijing has seen a spike in cases linked to the biggest wholesale food market in Asia.