Friday, 05 June, 2020

Latin America overtakes U.S, Europe in new cases

Global coronavirus cases exceed 5 million Coronavirus cases cross 5 million globally; 'biggest one-day spike'
Deanna Wagner | 23 May, 2020, 10:22

While daily death tolls are no longer on a steady incline, the losses are still punishing with more than 1,500 additional fatalities reported in 24 hours on Wednesday, taking the total in the United States to more than 93,400.

Latin America also reported more new cases than the Unites States or Europe on Tuesday, CNN calculations show: 29,240 in Latin America, compared to 22,391 in the United States and about 19,200 in Europe.

Experts said rising deaths in Latin America have shown government action in an area where millions of people have informal jobs and many police forces are weak or corrupt and unable to enforce sanctions.

The pandemic has claimed about 330,000 lives, though the true number is thought to be higher as testing is still limited, and many countries do not include fatalities that occur outside of hospitals. India and Indonesia both reported new daily highs of coronavirus cases Thursday.

The Bank of Japan, which recently announced measures to ensure easy lending in the world's third largest economy, said in a joint statement with the government that both sides "will work together to bring the Japanese economy back again on the post-pandemic solid growth track". The President of the US Federal Reserve has estimated that one in four Americans may be unemployed.

Meanwhile, the virus is roaring through other countries far more ill-equipped to handle the pandemic, with scientists anxious that new cases will fan the embers of a second global wave of infections.

While many hard-hit European countries have significantly turned the tide on new infections and fatalities, Latin America is in the grip of an infection surge.

Despite the continued increase in cases, many countries are opening schools and workplaces following weeks of lockdown that have stemmed the spread. However, the Department of Health has acknowledged that the actual number is probably several times higher due to Mexico's low test rate.

At the San Cristobal Mauseleum in the Mexico City suburb of Ecatepec, manager Armando Sepulveda said his business has doubled in recent weeks.

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"The crematoriums are saturated", Sepulveda said Thursday.

He said families scour the city "in desperation" looking for help with funeral services because hospitals can not hold the dead for long.

Mining, construction and parts of the North American automotive supply chain were allowed to resume operations this week, but analysts predict a massive economic contraction in an economy that had already entered a technical recession before the pandemic.

The virus reaches from megacities deep into the Amazon jungle.

The Colombian town of Leticia, which lies along the Amazon River at the border of Brazil and Peru, has almost 1,300 cases.

On the economic front, the latest figures out of the U.S. showed the rate of unemployment slowing - but the total number of jobs lost since mid-March stood at an eye-watering 38.6 million.

Authorities in Colombia have pointed a finger at Brazil to explain the sudden rise in infections there, and President Iván Duque has imposed strict measures aimed at keeping cases out, including militarizing the border.

Peru, Mexico and Chile have also seen steady increases in infections, with nurses in Lima warning that the health system is on the brink of collapse after cases and deaths tripled over the past three weeks. Tourism, a major income generator for Europe, has become a flashpoint as countries debate whether to quarantine new arrivals this summer for the virus's two-week maximum incubation period.

Peru has 2.5 intensive-care beds per 100,000 people, one quarter of the global standard. The country had nearly 109,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,100 dead as of Thursday night. Doctors say most patients are shopkeepers, taxi drivers or street vendors.