Coronavirus

The World Just Smashed a Single-Day Coronavirus Infection Record

The pandemic isn't slowing down; it is accelerating.
22 June 2020, 10:51pm
Photo by Himanshu Bhatt/NurPhoto via AP
Photo by Himanshu Bhatt/NurPhoto via AP

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The World Health Organization announced Sunday evening that over 183,000 people had tested positive for coronavirus in the previous 24 hours, the largest ever single-day increase in COVID-19 cases.

Two-thirds of the new cases came from North and South America, which contributed over 116,000 confirmed infections. Brazil alone saw over 50,000 new confirmed cases in that period.

Globally, more than 8.9 million people have been infected so far, and 468,567 have died, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

But while countries like Brazil, India, and the U.S. continue to show huge numbers of new daily infections, there are also worrying signs from countries where the rate of growth of the coronavirus had slowed significantly. Public health experts are concerned about outbreaks in China, South Korea, Australia, and Germany, where the spread of COVID-19 had slowed dramatically.

The WHO warned Sunday that “the pandemic is still accelerating” and that defeating it requires the cooperation of the entire world.

"We cannot defeat this pandemic with a divided world," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, told a virtual press conference organized by Dubai authorities on Sunday. “The politicization of the pandemic has exacerbated it. None of us is safe until all of us are safe.”

Here are some of the countries that continue to see large rises in infections — and some that are trying desperately to contain fresh outbreaks.

United States

Nearly half of all U.S. states are now reporting a rise in new cases, with significant spikes in California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida. Some states are still breaking records in their daily reported cases, even as lockdown restrictions are being lifted across the country.

In Southern states, officials say much of the rise is accounted for by many more young people testing positive. While some — including U.S. President Donald Trump — have said the rise in confirmed cases is the result of more testing, public health experts say this does not fully account for the surge in new cases.

Some states have attempted to curb the rise of infections by mandating the wearing of masks in public places, but reports suggest many people were ignoring such rules this weekend.

Brazil

Brazil added 54,771 in a single 24-hour period, the WHO said Sunday, as it became only the second country after the U.S. to exceed the grim death toll of 50,000. Brazil’s infection and death rate show no signs of slowing down, but President Jair Bolsonaro continues to play down the dangers of the coronavirus outbreak and is resisting calls to implement lockdowns.

READ: ‘Bodies pile up’: why Brazil is about to become the next coronavirus epicenter

On Sunday, thousands of people flooded the streets in Brasilia, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and police were called in to keep supporters of Bolsonaro apart from those protesting the government’s handling of the pandemic.

India

There were an additional 15,000 confirmed infections reported in India on Monday, and authorities in the subcontinent are now worried the rising caseload will cripple the healthcare system. In Delhi, the government is repurposing 25 luxury hotels to make up for an expected shortfall in hospital beds — and some hotel staff are now being trained to care for the sick.

China

Authorities in Beijing continue to try to limit the spread of a cluster of outbreaks linked to the massive Xinfadi food market in the city. After almost two months of no locally-transmitted infections, hundreds of people tested positive last week, and the city implemented strict shutdown measures, canceling thousands of flights, barring residents in high-risk areas from leaving their homes, and preventing anyone leaving the city unless they can show a recent negative test result.

South Korea

Weeks after a coronavirus cluster was linked back to one man’s visit to several nightclubs in Seoul, the authorities are battling with several new clusters. Nearly 200 infections have been traced to employees at a door-to-door sales company in Seoul, while at least 70 other infections are tied to a table tennis club in the capital. So far the government appears reluctant to reenforce strict lockdown or social distancing measures, fearing it will do further damage to the economy.

READ: Over 100 coronavirus cases in South Korea have now been linked to one guy’s night out clubbing

Germany

Germany was seen as one of Europe’s success stories in how it handled the pandemic, but a massive cluster of confirmed cases at a slaughterhouse in the country’s northwest has threatened to undermine that status. More than 1,300 employees — around 20% of the workforce — have tested positive.

Tension is also growing in Germany after hundreds of residents of a tower block in the German city of Göttingen. After two cases were confirmed in the building, residents were told not to leave their apartments, and over the weekend they clashed with police.

While most of the 700 residents complied with the orders, about 200 tried to get out, attacking the police with fireworks, bottles and metal bars, according to officials.

Australia

Authorities in the southern state of Victoria just extended the state of emergency by four weeks as a result of a spike in community transmission of the virus. While the numbers are small compared to other parts of the globe, authorities in Victoria have been recording double-digit rises in infections in recent days, which is out of line with the rest of the country. Some health experts are now calling for an even more strict lockdown for the next eight weeks to avoid repeated surges in infections.

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Cover: Healthcare workers leave after conducting a medical check-up at a slum in Mumbai, India on June 22, 2020. India is the fourth worst-hit nation by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic after the United States, Brazil and Russia. (Photo by Himanshu Bhatt/NurPhoto via AP)

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