WHO Reports Largest One-Day Jump in New COVID Cases    

The World Health Organization has released sobering numbers showing that the coronavirus pandemic is still in its powerful first wave even as some experts are warning of a second wave. On Sunday, the WHO reported the largest one-day increase in the number of new coronavirus cases worldwide — 183,000 in 24 hours.  It said Brazil led the way with nearly 55,000 new cases followed by the United States with more than 36,000 and India with about 15,000 new cases.   Overall, the WHO says there are more than 8,708,000 cases worldwide and close to 462,000 deaths. The large number of new cases cannot be explained away by wider testing, Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said on “Fox News Sunday.” President Donald Trump has said he believes testing is the reason.   “When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more cases. So, I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down.’ They test and they test,” Trump told the crowd at his campaign rally Saturday night in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The White House later said the president was just joking.  But the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, Dr. Ashish Jha, says there’s nothing funny about COVID-19.A medical worker in a protective suit conducts a nucleic acid test for a resident, following a new outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Beijing, China, June 20, 2020.“This is incredibly frustrating for the millions of Americans who have gotten sick and have not been able to get tests. … This is unfortunately not a joke,” Jha told CNN Sunday. Meanwhile, some heath experts are warning of a second wave of COVID-19, to the frustration of other scientists.  “When you have 20,000-plus infections per day, how can you talk about a second wave?” Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health told the Associated Press. “We’re in the first wave. Let’s get out of the first wave before you have a second wave.” Some of the experts, including Caitlin Rivers, a disease researcher at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Health Security, say they don’t even want to use the words “second wave” because they say that gives people a false sense of believing the worst is over. Many viruses, such as the flu, get worse in the winter when more people stay indoors and the weather cools. But because COVID-19 is a new coronavirus, scientists say they are still not sure what they are dealing with and how the change of seasons will affect it. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last week that the pandemic is accelerating.  “We are in a new and dangerous phase,” Tedros said, adding that lockdown measures are still needed to halt the spread of the virus even as such measures are being eased around the world. Brazil’s coronavirus death toll officially surpassed 50,000 Sunday, and the South American country now has a total of more than 1 million cases, second only to the United States with 2.2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus. Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has dismissed COVID-19 as just a flu and has called those worried about the disease neurotic – much to the consternation of health experts who say the actual number of cases may be higher than the government reports.An artist wearing a protective mask reading “Out Bolsonaro” attends a protest to honour people who died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during its outbreak in Brasilia, Brazil June 15, 2020.He has also brushed off such measures as lockdowns and social distancing as damaging an already disease-crippled economy. In Germany, authorities say the coronavirus reproduction rate is rising to a level higher than what experts say is needed for long-term containment of the virus.  The authorities reported a 2.88 reproduction rate Sunday – meaning for every 100 people who get COVID-19, an additional 288 people will become infected. The reproduction rate was 1.79 Saturday, and experts say a number of 1 or less is necessary to consider the outbreak contained. Germany has started easing coronavirus-related lockdowns and other restrictions after what it had regarded as success in fighting COVID-19. Authorities blame the surge in German cases on outbreaks inside such places as nursing homes, hospitals and facilities housing refugees and asylum-seekers. On Sunday, the thousands of worshippers who usually flock to Stonehenge to watch the sun rise on the first day of summer made their pilgrimage a virtual one this year. The body that oversees Stonehenge, English Heritage, said more than 3.6 million people tuned in as the sun broke Sunday morning. Britain has a ban on large gatherings to curb the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but a small group of druids, those who say they are descended from the ancient religion, gathered in a nearby field to watch in person. Also Sunday, Bulgarian tennis star Grigor Dimitrov announced he is ill with the coronavirus, the highest-profile tennis player to come down with the disease so far.  “I want to reach out and let my fans and friends know that I tested positive back in Monaco for COVID-19,” Dimitrov wrote on Instagram. “I want to make sure anyone who has been in contact with me during these past days gets tested and takes the necessary precautions.” He says he is home and recovering and apologized for any harm he might have caused.  Dimitrov pulled out of the Adria Tour match in Zadar, Croatia, Saturday, saying he felt sick. The finals of the Zadar leg of the tour have also been canceled. 

June 22nd, 2020 by
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