Friday, 05 June, 2020

Brazil climbs to second in COVID-19 cases worldwide

Brazil surges to second in coronavirus cases worldwide Brazil surges to second in coronavirus cases worldwide
Deanna Wagner | 23 May, 2020, 12:44

Latin America's two largest nations - Mexico and Brazil - reported record numbers of infections and deaths nearly daily this week, fuelling criticism of their presidents, who have slow-walked shutdowns in an attempt to limit economic damage.

With its curve of infections and deaths rising sharply, the country of 210 million ranks third in the world in terms of total cases, behind the United States and Russian Federation.

The World Health Organization declared Latin America "a new epicenter" of the coronavirus pandemic Friday as U.S. President Donald Trump demanded churches reopen despite the ongoing COVID-19 threat.

Since the pandemic broke out last December, more than 5.2 million people have been sickened and some 338,000 killed worldwide, making it one of the deadliest viral outbreaks since the 1918 Spanish Flu. But with aggressive containment measures that put tens of millions of citizens under strict lockdown, Beijing appears to have largely brought the contagion under control, reporting a only slow trickle of new cases as the virus took hold elsewhere in the world. Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO's top emergencies expert, speaking earlier to a news conference, said: "In a sense South America has become a new epicenter for the disease".

"We have seen many South American countries with increasing numbers of cases", World Health Organization emergencies director Mike Ryan told a virtual news conference.

Brazil reported more than 3,30,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus as of Friday, surpassing Russian Federation to become the nation with the second-highest number of infections, behind only the USA, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Most of Brazil's cases are in densely populated Sao Paulo, but the highest rate of infection is in the state of Amazonas, where there are about 490 people infected per 100,000 population, he said.

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There are 1,516 people being treated for COVID-19 in Quebec hospitals as of Wednesday, down 268 from the 1,784 reported Tuesday. As of Wednesday, Quebec has seen 12,882 recoveries which is up 385 from the report a day prior.

The number of deaths in Brazil is now the sixth-highest in the world, behind the United States, Britain, Italy, Spain and France.

"The majority of the cases are from the Sao Paulo region", said Ryan.

The president threatened to "override" governors who defy him, but it was unclear whether Trump had any authority to force them to do so. "In America, we need more prayer, not less", added Trump, who has previously expressed support for street protests against lockdowns.

Russian Federation has so far recorded 3,249 deaths - with a caseload of more 325,000 infections, second only to the United States - but government critics claimed the death figures are vastly understated.

The death toll has doubled in just 11 days, according to ministry data.

"The seriously ill are building up".