Global cases of the novel coronavirus have topped 8 million as infections surge in Latin America and the US, and China grapples with fresh outbreaks.

The United States still had the highest number of infections, about 2 million or 25 percent of all reported cases. However, the outbreak is growing fastest in Latin America, which now accounts for 21 percent of all cases, according to a Reuters tally.

Brazil’s Covid-19 cases and deaths had surged to make it second hot spot in the world.

The first case was reported in China in early January and it took until early May to reach 4 million cases. It has taken just five weeks to double to 8 million cases, according to a Reuters tally

Global deaths stand at more than 434,000 and have doubled in seven weeks.

Health experts said that, although Brazil’s official death toll from the pandemic had risen to nearly 44,000, the true impact was likely far greater than the data showed due to a lack of widespread testing in Latin America’s largest country.

In the United States, which has more than 116,000 deaths, testing is still ramping up months after the start of the outbreak.

After cases declined in much of the United States for weeks, many areas were reporting record new cases and hospitalisations after all states began easing restrictions.

Fears of a second wave in hard-hit states – or a failure to get a grip on the first wave in some others – have led health experts to plead with the public to wear masks, avoid large gatherings and maintain distancing rules.

China is also grappling with a resurgence of the virus just as its economy is trying to recover from shutdowns earlier this year. After nearly two months with no new infections, the capital Beijing has seen a spike in cases linked to the biggest wholesale food market in Asia.

SOURCE – RADIO NEW ZEALAND

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