The COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 565,000 people out of nearly 13 million registered cases worldwide, has been accelerating sharply since the start of this month, according to a count carried out by Agence Presse-France from official sources.
The three biggest daily worldwide increases in new cases were seen on Saturday (more than 230,000), Friday (more than 225,000) and Thursday (nearly 220,000).
Since July 1, nearly 2.5 million new cases have been officially declared, a record level since the outbreak was first reported in China in December last year.
The number of declared cases worldwide has doubled in just a month-and-a-half. The US (3,247,782 cases), Brazil (1,839,850), India (849,553), Russia (727,162) and Peru (322,710) account for more than half of the global total.
Worldwide, a total of at least 12,736,737 infections, including 565,151 deaths, have been recorded.
Europe is the most-affected continent in terms of fatalities, with 202,396 out of 3,355,128 cases, while the hardest-hit country — the US — has registered 134,815 deaths.
Latin America and the Caribbean is the region where the disease is surging the most, with more than 76,000 new cases registered on Saturday, compared with just over 70,000 in the US and Canada, nearly 40,000 in Asia, 17,500 in Africa and 16,000 in Europe.
South Africa is now the ninth-most affected nation, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard tracker.
It has 264,184 cases, including 3,971 deaths, accounting for more than 40 percent of all the reported cases in Africa.
More than 30 percent of its cases are in Gauteng Province, which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Africa’s 54 countries have reported 577,904 cases, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported yesterday.
The continent’s confirmed cases are concentrated in three other countries: Egypt (81,158), Nigeria (31,987) and Algeria (18,712).
The number of actual cases in Africa is believed to be much higher, as the testing rate is very low in many countries.
The number of diagnosed cases worldwide still reflects only a fraction of the actual number of infections. Some nations test only severe cases, others use them primarily for tracing and many poor countries have limited testing capacity.
US President Donald Trump on Saturday appeared for the first time in public wearing a mask, as more than 66,000 new cases were recorded in the US, a new daily record, according to the Johns Hopkins University dashboard.
Trump wore a dark mask with the presidential seal as he walked through the corridors of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, to meet wounded veterans.
Trump strode past reporters and did not stop to speak to them about what had become a hotly anticipated moment — would he have a change of heart on a practice recommended by the US government’s own medical experts?
“I’ve never been against masks, but I do believe they have a time and a place,” Trump said as he left the White House.
News reports last week said aides practically begged the president to relent and wear a mask in public — and let himself be photographed — as COVID-19 cases soared in some states and as Trump trailed former US vice president Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, badly in polls ahead of the November election.
Trump has reportedly told aides that wearing a mask would make him look weak and he could not stomach the idea of letting the media photograph him in one.
Even on Saturday as he left the White House to head to Walter Reed, Trump made it sound like he would wear a mask only because he would be in a hospital.
“I think when you’re in a hospital, especially in that particular setting, where you’re talking to a lot of soldiers and people that, in some cases, just got off the operating tables, I think it’s a great thing to wear a mask,” Trump told reporters.
Additional reporting by AP
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s