(Reuters) – Almost 40 countries have reported record single-day increases in coronavirus infections over the past week, around double the number that did so the previous week, according to a Reuters tally showing a pick-up in the pandemic in every region of the world
The rate of cases has been increasing not only in countries like the United States, Brazil and India, which have dominated global headlines with large outbreaks, but in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Bolivia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Belgium, Uzbekistan and Israel, among others.
Many countries, especially those where officials eased earlier social distancing lockdowns, are experiencing a second peak more than a month after recording their first.
“We will not be going back to the ‘old normal’. The pandemic has already changed the way we live our lives,” World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this week. “We’re asking everyone to treat the decisions about where they go, what they do and who they meet with as life-and-death decisions – because they are.”
The Reuters data, compiled from official reports, shows a steady rise in the number of countries reporting record daily increases in the virus that causes COVID-19 over the past month. At least seven countries recorded such increases three weeks ago, rising to at least 13 countries two weeks ago to at least 20 countries last week and to 37 countries this week.
The true numbers of both cases and deaths are almost certainly underreported, particularly in countries with poorer health care systems, health experts and officials say. For this report, the Reuters data was restricted to countries that provide regular daily numbers.
A surge in cases usually precedes a rise in deaths by a couple of weeks.
The United States remains at the top of the case list, this week passing more than 4 million cases and recording more than 1,000 deaths for four consecutive days. Brazil and India – which epidemiologists say is still likely months from hitting its peak – have also exceeded 1 million cases