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Virus deaths approach half a million

World

Global cases of the coronavirus have reached over eight million, as infections surge in Latin America and the United States and China grapples with fresh outbreaks.

 

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The United States still leads the world with the highest number of infections, about two million or 25 per cent of all reported cases.

However, the outbreak is growing fastest in Latin America, which now accounts for 21 per cent of all cases, according to a Reuters tally.

Brazil’s COVID-19 cases and deaths have surged to make it the No.2 hot spot in the world.

The first case was reported in China in early January and it took until early May to reach four million cases. It has taken just five weeks to double to eight million cases, according to a Reuters tally.

Global deaths stand at over 434,000 and have doubled in seven weeks.

Although Brazil’s official death toll from the pandemic has risen to nearly 44,000, the true impact is likely far greater than the data show, health experts said, citing a lack of widespread testing in Latin America’s largest country.

In the United States, which has over 116,000 deaths, testing is still ramping up months after the start of the outbreak.

After cases declined in much of the United States for weeks, many areas are now reporting record new cases and hospitalisations.

Fears of a second wave in hard-hit states – or a failure to get a grip on the first wave in some others – 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, the capital Beijing has seen a spike in cases linked to the biggest wholesale food market in Asia.

-AAP

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