One million new infections were confirmed in less than two weeks.
More than five million people worldwide have contracted the coronavirus, according to data compiled by The New York Times.
This number is just a measure of the global toll of the pandemic. Its persistent increase – the number exceeded four million less than two weeks ago – reflects not only the harmful spread of the pathogen, but also increases in testing.
The average number of new daily cases worldwide last week was over 91,000, higher than ever, even as the average weekly number of deaths declined. In total, more than 329,000 people died.
The case count was fueled in part by the still growing number of infections in the United States, which has the highest number in the world, and by far-reaching outbreaks in large countries like Russia and Brazil. South American countries, including Chile, Colombia and Peru, are reporting increases in cases, and some nations around the world are seeing the number of confirmed infections double every week or two.
Even with the increases, the total number of infections and deaths, representing cases in at least 177 countries, is almost certain to be subaccount due to failed tests, political denial and asymptomatic patients who can spread the virus.
Still, there are reasons for protected optimism in some regions. Conditions appear to be improving, or at least stabilizing, in parts of Western Europe and the United States, and some governments were cautiously easing blocking restrictions.
Denmark, for example, has taken steps towards normality and reported a decreasing number of new cases. Some of Europe's most devastated countries, including France, Italy and the United Kingdom, also reported better numbers.
The serious economic damage of the pandemic and the resulting blockages are also coming into focus. On Thursday, the United States reported that another 2.4 million people had applied for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the country's nine-week total to more than 38 million. One country after another has plunged into recession.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said on Thursday that it would provide up to $ 1.2 billion to pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to develop a potential coronavirus vaccine in a laboratory in Oxford.
The agreement with AstraZeneca is the fourth vaccine research agreement the department has released, and by far the largest. The money will pay for a clinical trial of the potential vaccine in the United States this summer with some 30,000 volunteers.
The H.H.S. The statement said the agency and AstraZeneca "are collaborating to make at least 300 million doses available" and project that the first doses will be available as early as October.
This is a very fast and ambitious schedule. Most public health experts and scientists warn that a viable vaccine that can be mass produced is unlikely to be available until next year, at the very least.
Infectious disease experts also warn that many vaccine candidates take years to perfect or fail and, in some cases, cause side effects so severe that testing in humans is halted. In addition, billions of doses would be needed worldwide.
AstraZeneca said it is also discussing agreements for simultaneous production by other companies, including the giant Serum Institute of India, a major supplier of vaccines to the developing world.
The United States is distributing billions of dollars to companies to develop vaccines through the Biomedical Authority for Advanced Research and Development.
In addition to the money for AstraZeneca, the authority, known as Barda, has already agreed to provide up to $ 483 million for the modern biotech company and $ 500 million for Johnson & Johnson for its separate vaccine efforts. It also agreed to provide $ 30 million to a virus vaccination effort by the French company Sanofi.
Many vaccine efforts are underway around the world and several potential vaccines are now in at least small-scale clinical trials.
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on Thursday expressed frustration over US deportations of people infected with the coronavirus, saying it was causing "serious problems" to his country's health system.
"Guatemala is an ally of the United States, but the United States is not an ally of Guatemala," said Giammattei. "They don't treat us like an ally."
Among the people deported from the United States to Guatemala, there were 119 confirmed cases of Covid-19, The Associated Press reported. The last flight to arrive with people who tested positive landed in Guatemala on May 13, with 16 of the 65 passengers infected, the agency said.
A spokesman for the US Department of Immigration and Customs said that all passengers were screened and that 15 migrants who tested positive were detained from the flight and sent to isolation sections of detention centers.
Guatemala did not accept flights from US migrants this week, reported The A.P.
A country of about 17 million people, Guatemala has more than 2,200 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 45 deaths.
"The United States helped other countries, including fans, and for us nothing happened, not even chopped corn," said Giammattei in an appearance in the center of Latin America at the Atlantic Council.
Deportees became a point of contention in the country, with several community councils last month threatening to burn down a government building, where migrants were quarantined for concerns that they posed a health risk.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongest ruler in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya, was hospitalized in Moscow on suspicion of coronavirus infection, Russian news agencies reported on Thursday.
Kadyrov, 43, is one of Russia's most influential figures. He runs Chechnya – a predominantly Muslim region, ravaged by two bloody wars since the collapse of the Soviet Union – as his personal fiefdom, and he has been accused of brutal human rights violations against his critics, gays and others.
Details were scarce about Kadyrov's condition. Russia's two main state news agencies, Tass and RIA Novosti, both quoted an anonymous source as saying he was hospitalized in the Russian capital. Tass and the Independent Interfax news agency he quoted a medical source as saying that Kadyrov had been struck by a suspected coronavirus infection.
An aide to Kadyrov told RIA that the leader continued to oversee the response to the virus in Chechnya, which officially registered 1,026 cases and 11 deaths.
The actual number of deaths may be higher. Russia recorded 317,554 cases of coronavirus, the second highest total in the world, while insisting on maintaining a mortality rate well below the global average. But Moscow's overall mortality figures suggest a higher total.
The mountainous south of Russia has been one of the hardest hit regions, with hundreds reported dead in Dagestan, a region bordering Chechnya.
Kadyrov was furious in the past few days after Chechen medical workers became public about what they said was a lack of protective equipment. "We have enough of everything" he insisted.
Also on Thursday, the United States took 50 fans to Russia as part of a US $ 5.6 million aid effort that President Trump had offered to his Russian colleague, Vladimir V. Putin. Russia delivered a cargo of aid to New York last month, a move that critics consider an propaganda attempt.
The measures take effect as China prepares for the biggest event on its political calendar, the annual session of the National People's Congress – a heavily choreographed legislative contest designed to convey the ruling Communist Party's strength.
The latest outbreak is concentrated in Jilin, a northeastern province of 27 million people close to China's borders with Russia and North Korea. Jilin reported a relatively small outbreak of about 130 cases and two deaths, and experts warned of a potential "big explosion".
The response reflects the fears of China's leaders about the potential for a new wave of infections, as factories, schools and restaurants reopen in much of the country.
President Xi Jinping took the pandemic as a chance to rescue the party after the initial mistakes left infections out of control and gathered national pride in the face of international anger over the mistakes. This topic is likely to support the National People's Congress, an annual legislative meeting that will open on Friday after a delay of months.
Mr. Xi was able to rewrite the narrative in China, partly because the disorder in other countries, especially in the United States, relieved him of domestic political pressure.
But maintaining that narrative can be challenging. He must continue to press his agenda as China faces a diplomatic and economic climate as frightening as any since the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.
"If you position yourself as a great helmsman capable of leading your country, there is a lot of internal political risk if you can't handle the job properly," said Carl Minzner, professor of Chinese law and politics at Fordham University.
When Cyclone Amphan crossed eastern India and Bangladesh, it toppled communities under coronavirus blockade and, for many, created a dilemma:
Keep the shelter in place of the pandemic? Or evacuate to real shelters to seek protection from the storm – and perhaps risk being infected?
In the end, it is estimated that three million people chose to leave their homes, although there were fewer shelters available to them than there normally would be. Just a few weeks ago, hundreds were converted to coronavirus quarantine centers.
But some refused to seek shelter, saying that, given the pandemic, they could be safer in their homes, even with a falling cyclone.
The storm's toll was still being assessed on Thursday. Staff …