The number of new cases of Covid-19 rose by almost 260,000 in 24 hours – the largest single-day increase since the pandemic began, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday.
According to WHO, this is the first time the number of new daily infections has surpassed a quarter of a million.
The biggest increases were in the US, Brazil, India and South Africa.
The global death toll from coronavirus also rose by 7360 – the largest daily increase since 10 May.
The previous record rise in new confirmed cases was recorded by WHO just one day earlier.
The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus passed 14 million on Saturday, with over 600,000 recorded deaths, according to the tally kept by US-based Johns Hopkins University.
What is happening in the US?
Cases are surging in several US states, particularly in southern states that were initially reluctant to enforce lockdowns or mandate the wearing of masks. Florida, Texas and Arizona have seen particularly high surges.
Florida is currently the epicentre of the US epidemic. The state recorded more than 10,000 new infections and 90 more deaths on Saturday, bringing its total number of cases to more than 337,000 and its death toll to more than 5000.
In recent weeks, hospitals across the state had also warned that their ICUs were at capacity and that they were unable to accept any new patients.
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Measures to stem the spread of the virus, including wearing masks, have become highly politicised in the US.
The US’s top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci urged state and local leaders on Friday to be “forceful” in making sure people wore masks, although President Donald Trump later said he would not mandate mask-wearing on a national level.
Which other countries are seeing surges?
In Brazil, where the coronavirus and measures to contain it have been highly politicised, cases continue to surge – although the WHO announced this week that cases were no longer increasing exponentially.
Scientists have also warned that India could still be months away from the peak of its outbreak – despite the country already having the third-highest number of confirmed cases. Hospitals in the worst-hit cities, including Mumbai and Bangalore, have been overwhelmed with patients.
SOURCE – RADIO NZ