The past week accounted for three million new cases of Covid-19 globally, the biggest increase since the start of the pandemic, with Europe once again emerging as the hotspot of the contagion. According to latest data by Johns Hopkins University, over 44.4 million cases and 1.1 million deaths have been reported globally, with 32,54,000 new infections and 43,000 deaths in the past week.
The European Region accounted for the greatest proportion of the reported new cases even as France and Germany re-imposed lockdowns in a last-ditch effort to protect hospitals from getting overwhelmed again. Europe reported more than 1.4 million new cases in the past seven days, with over 11,700 deaths, a 37 per cent jump over the previous week.
The United States is also witnessing a surge, powered by Midwest states, registering 5,21,024 infections over the past seven days, compared to nearly 370,000 the previous week. India, the second worst Covid-affected nation, has crossed the 8-million mark even though cases have dipped sharply from September’s peak.
These are the top 10 worst affected nations due to Covid-19:
The United States: The United States reported a record of more than 500,000 new cases over the past week, taking its overall tally to 8,858,024, including 227,700 deaths. From a daily average of 52,000 cases in mid October, the US is now seeing a record 71,000 new cases daily. About 20 states have recorded their highest seven-day average of new cases, NYT reported. The surge has forced states to re-impose stricter curbs, with night curfews and stay-at-home orders making a comeback. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker barred indoor dining and bar service in Chicago.
India: Eighteen days after total Covid-19 infections crossed the 70 lakh, India’s caseload surpassed the 80-lakh mark on Thursday. The country has been reporting an average of 50,000 cases in the past week — a huge dip from mid September when it was reporting over 90,000 infections daily. Covid-related deaths too have decreased, with the fatality rate at 1.49 per cent while the recovery rate is at 90.99 per cent. India’s death toll presently stands at 1,20,527. India’s Covid-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23 and 40 lakh on September 5. It went past 50 lakh on September 16, 60 lakh on September 28 and crossed 70 lakh on October 11.
Brazil: Brazil has recorded nearly 5.5 million cases of the virus, with a total of 158,456 deaths — the second worst-affected in terms of fatalities. From its peak, when Brazil was registering more than 45,000 cases and 1,000 deaths per day, the figures have fallen to about 27,000 cases and 700 deaths daily. In recent months, Brazil has loosened restrictions considerably, with shops and some offices reopening in Sao Paulo and Rio’s beaches brimming with people.
Russia: Russia on Thursday reported a record high of 17,717 cases, taking the national total to 1,581,693 even as President Vladimir Putin’s administration implemented a nationwide mask mandate this week. Russia has seen more confirmed cases in October than any other month. The country also reported a record high of 366 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 27,301. Masks will be mandatory in crowded public spaces, such as public transportation, parking lots and elevators, according to the government order. The administration has also advised local authorities to ban all entertainment activities, including bars and restaurants, between 11 pm and 6 am.
France: French President Emmanuel Macron announced new lockdown rules as daily new cases surged above 36,000 in the past few days, taking the total caseload to 1,280,215. Covid daily deaths in France are also at the highest level since April, with the toll crossing 500 on two consecutive days this week. Its overall death toll stands at 35,541, the third-highest toll in Europe after Britain and Italy. Among the restrictions set to be re-imposed in France from Friday to December 1 include closing of bars and restaurants, ban on domestic travel and public gatherings. People will be required to fill out a form to leave their homes, Euronews reported. “The virus is circulating in France at a speed that even the most pessimistic forecast didn’t foresee,” Macron said in an address.
Spain: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced a new state of emergency from Sunday, with the country reporting record daily cases since the start of the pandemic. Spain has so far recorded 1,136,503 cases, including 35,466 deaths, becoming the first western European country to exceed 1 million coronavirus infections. Cases had slowed down to a trickle following a stringent lockdown from March to June. However, an easing of restrictions saw infections frequently exceeding 10,000 cases a day from late August, and hit a new peak of 52,188 cases on October 26. As per the government order, a national nightly curfew from 11 pm to 6 am has been imposed and gatherings of over six people are banned. Local authorities have been given free rein to restrict travel between regions. These restrictions will be in place for 15 days.
Argentina: Argentina is the smallest nation to have passed the one million mark, and has so far reported 1,130,533 cases. Once considered a success story in Latin America for countering Covid-19, Argentina now has one of the highest rates of new daily infections per capita. It’s death toll, which stands at 30,071, has also been on the rise since mid September. Argentina’s seven-day average daily death toll of 365 is the fifth highest in the world, behind only the United States, India, Brazil and Mexico, JHU data shows. What has raised concerns is the fact that the virus has now spread out in the country’s interior, with intensive care units in the country at 64.4 per cent capacity, Reuters reported. While the government has relaxed several curbs, domestic and international travel is still tightly restricted.
Colombia: Colombia surpassed 1 million infections earlier this week, becoming the eighth country globally to do so and the third nation in Latin America. So far, Colombia has reported 1,041,936 confirmed infections and 30,753 deaths. The nation has been reporting an average of 8,605 cases in the past week — a massive jump from the 7,300 infections it reported daily in the week ending October 21. Colombia, which went under a national lockdown on March 25, relaxed restrictions only as late as September to boost its economy. Since September 1, the country has been relying on individual responsibility and widespread use of masks in public places.
The United Kingdom: The UK is also in the midst of a second wave of Covid-19, reporting over 1,50,000 cases in the past week. Britain, which has so far resisted from imposing a second nationwide lockdown, is seeing an average of 21,883 cases daily — a rise from the 19,000 cases it was reporting in mid October. Britain already accounts for Europe’s highest death toll, with 45,765 fatalities. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has so far opted for a tiered system of local controls. Several cities in northern England have been placed in “very high” category, which requires the closure of hospitality services and people will not be able to socialise outside their households.
Mexico: At 90,309 deaths and 906,863 cases, Mexico has the second-worst fatality rate at over 10 per cent — only behind Yemen. The death toll of Latin America’s second largest economy is the fourth highest in the world after the US, Brazil and India. In October, Mexico reported a sharp increase in the daily number of coronavirus infections, witnessing an average of 6,000 cases in the past week. Moreover, it has recorded 12,231 deaths in October so far — the highest than any other month since the start of the pandemic.
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