The pandemic is growing at a faster rate.
The pace of the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating worldwide, with almost 700,000 new known infections reported in the last week after the pathogen found greater support points in Latin America and the Gulf States.
The virus infected more than 5.7 million people worldwide and killed at least 357,000, according to data compiled by The New York Times. It was only last Thursday that the world surpassed the dismal limit of 5 million cases, after almost two weeks before another million infections were known.
But each day is bringing more dark notes. Until May 20, there was only one day when the world heard of at least 100,000 new cases. Since then, six-digit increases have been reported four times, a sign of the virus's still devastating reach as more of the world's most powerful economies reopen.
The increases in some countries can be attributed to better testing programs. In others, however, it appears that the virus has only just arrived with a wide scope and fatal force.
Outbreaks have accelerated especially in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, with the number of cases doubling in some countries every two weeks. On Tuesday, the World Health Organization said it considered the Americas the new epicenter of the pandemic.
And while much of the Middle East appears to be preventing an early catastrophe, even with the virus ravaging Iran, the case count has been rising lately in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Many of the world's richest countries have slowed their outbreaks, albeit marginally in some cases. In the United States, which recorded more than 100,000 deaths, more than any other country, the growth rate has stabilized. But experts believe their cases are still being underestimated, despite the fact that there are at least 1.7 million known infections, and fear that premature reopening in some states could lead to new outbreaks.
New cases are decreasing in France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom after outbreaks that left them with the highest number of deaths in the world, with a total of more than 126,000 deaths.
Taken together, studies show that protection of herd immunity is unlikely to be achieved "soon", said Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
"We don't have a good way to build safely, to be honest, not in the short term," said Mina. "Unless we let the virus run wild again – but I think society has decided that this is not an approach available to us."
The effort for large-scale coronavirus testing and contact tracking has been at the heart of the World Health Organization's guidelines for stopping the coronavirus. And as some nations bring in new tracking and tracking systems designed to prevent a second major wave of infections, the experiences of others offer case studies – and warning stories.
The latest such effort in Britain is being launched on Thursday. People with potential symptoms of Covid-19 will be tested and, if positive, will be asked to list all people with whom they have recently been in close contact for at least 15 minutes. These people, in turn, will be contacted and asked to isolate themselves for 14 days.
The country's health secretary, Matt Hancock, said this week that the program aims to replace a national blockade with individual isolation or minor localized restrictions should new cases arise.
At a news conference on Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that groups of up to six people could meet outside England starting on Monday, as long as they are more than five feet away. Currently, only two people from different families can meet.
In Japan, where the government has limited testing to the most serious cases and instead focused on tracking contacts, medical experts feared that the approach would allow cases to explode. But Japan continues to have a relatively low Covid-19 death rate.
Angered by the government, the French took to the streets brandishing drinks.
With the bars still closed despite the loosening of the coronavirus block in France, the tradition of pre-dinner drinking gave way to apérue: clusters of revelers in the streets or rues of Paris, outside establishments authorized to offer take-out food.
"They are forcing us to do childish things all the time," said Frédérick Cassea, who was having drinks with two friends in front of Le Syndicat, a bar in the 10th district.
"We are all adults, we are all responsible, we all know what's going on," added Cassea, describing the sentence and other acts of "civil disobedience" as a reaction to the government's "catastrophic". management of the epidemic. "Treating us like children doesn't work for long."
The trip is restricted to a 100 km radius – about 60 miles – from someone's home, but people find countless ways to violate it. People are allowed on "dynamic beaches", which means that they cannot sit, let alone lie down. The newspapers publish photos of bathers who run from police, in the type of transgression that can be censored in another country, but it provokes a collective joy in France.
On Thursday, the French government said it would allow restaurants and cafes to reopen next week with some restrictions. In some areas where the epidemic is most active, such as in the Paris region, only open-air terraces will be opened.
Establishments everywhere will have to follow certain rules, including no more than 10 people per table, and employees and customers without a seat will be required to wear masks.
Public parks and gardens could open across the country this weekend and, as of Tuesday, travel within the country will no longer be limited.
"Even if we are cautious, even if we are not at risk of being indifferent, the news is quite good," said Édouard Philippe, Prime Minister.
South Korea, which eased restrictions in recent weeks when the virus appeared to be under control, rushed on Thursday to contain a new outbreak, saying it would close museums and parks in the Seoul metropolitan area and call for some prep schools, internet cafes and karaoke rooms to hang up.
The country registered 79 new cases on Thursday, the highest daily count since April 5, when an outbreak hit a home delivery logistics center in Bucheon, southwest of Seoul. The center registered 82 patients among its workers and their contacts in the past five days.
In late February and early March, South Korea recorded hundreds of new cases a day, in one of the biggest outbreaks outside China at the time. But, through an aggressive test and isolation campaign, it reduced the number of daily cases to about 10 in late April and early May. Since then, restrictions on social distance have eased and schools have started to reopen.
"If we cannot stop this spread, we will have no option but to return to social detachment," said Park Neung-hoo, South Korea's Minister of Health.
Several other countries have experienced a similar pattern of rising and falling: restrictive measures appear to control the virus, and as rules are relaxed, new outbreaks emerge, forcing authorities to act quickly.
Sri Lanka said on Thursday that it would impose a partial block to restrict large meetings on certain days starting on Sunday, after an increase in cases, mainly of people returning from Kuwait to the country, Agence France-Presse reported. The move came after the country lifted blockades in recent weeks, including in the capital this week.
This month, after allowing some companies to reopen and ease the night curfew, Lebanon imposed a four-day national block to try to stifle a further increase in coronavirus cases. The measures have been relaxed since then.
Years of neglect have disrupted Mexico's health system, leaving dangerously scarce doctors, nurses and equipment to fight a virus that has dominated much wealthier nations.
Now, the pandemic is making matters worse, sickening more than 11,300 health workers in the country – one of the highest rates in the world – and further depleting the thin ranks of hospitals. Some hospitals have lost half of their workers due to illness and absenteeism. Others are low on basic equipment.
The shortage has had devastating consequences for patients, Mexico's health professionals say. Doctors and nurses reported dozens of preventable deaths in hospitals – the result of negligence or mistakes that should never have happened.
"We had a lot of what we call" stupid deaths, "" said Pablo Villaseñor, a doctor at Tijuana General Hospital, the center of an outbreak. "It is not the virus that is killing them. It is the lack of proper care."
Patients die because they receive the wrong drugs or the wrong dose, health professionals said. In some hospitals, protective gloves are so old that they break the moment they are put on, nurses said.
The Mexican government spends less on health care as a percentage of its economy than most countries in the Western Hemisphere, according to the World Bank. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador chaired spending cuts even after recognizing that his country had 200,000 less health professionals than necessary.
"You hear about a patient dying because he did not receive adequate care – and then another and another – and try not to be paralyzed," said Villaseñor, a rheumatologist who said he needed to learn how to adapt. to treat coronavirus patients by watching a video on YouTube.
Eight dancers from Ballet du Rhin they were in the middle of a class in their studio in eastern France, recently, when director Bruno Bouché asked them to perform a short, heavy pirouette routine in socially distant pairs.
Alice Pernão, 22, one of the first dancers to try, performed the rounds with the pleasure of a dancer moving her …