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The daily number of coronavirus cases continues to rise across the globe, with the World Health Organization on Sunday reporting the highest number of recorded cases in a 24-hour period. The increase saw the pandemic reach another grim milestone as the total number of confirmed cases crossed 10 million with 500,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 database. Over 5 million are listed as recovered.
In the US, regional surges in the South and West drove cases to a record weekly high, according to analysis by the Atlantic’s COVID Tracking Project. The country accounts for more than a quarter of all cases and deaths. Daily deaths have continued to decline in the US even as cases reach new highs, a phenomenon not currently seen in other countries with surging cases.
“This is a very serious situation,” US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said during an appearance Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press. “People, as individuals, have to act responsibly. We need to social distance, we need to wear our face coverings if we’re in settings where we can’t social distance.”
There is some suggestion that new cases are being found in younger age groups — those at a lower risk of dying from COVID-19. “We’ve gotten reports from our governors that the majority of cases are aged 35 and under,” Azar said. A lag between deaths and reporting could also see deaths rise in July.
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Two other countries are reporting significant increases in daily infections: Brazil and India. The former has recorded over 1.3 million confirmed cases and over 57,000 deaths. India currently has the fourth-highest number of cases behind the US, Brazil and Russia, but daily cases are rising, with nearly 20,000 reported on Sunday.
Last week, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said the pandemic was entering a “new and dangerous phase”. On Wednesday, he made a point of reiterating the disparity between the first month of the outbreak, where 10,000 cases were reported to the WHO, with the current month, in which 4 million cases have been reported.
“This is a sobering reminder that even as we continue research into vaccines and therapeutics we have an urgent responsibility to do everything we can with the tools we have now to suppress transmission and save lives,” Ghebreyesus said during the press briefing on June 24.
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