- Global case total tops 8.3 million
- Deaths top 447,000
- Tokyo reports 41 infections
- World reports record jump in new cases, deaths
- Beijing top epidemiologist says outbreak in the city ‘under control’
- India reports record jump in new cases (12k+) as Fitch cuts outlook
- Cali reports record 4k jump in new cases
- Indonesia reports record jump, surpassing Singapore’s case total
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As VP Mike Pence plays down the threat of a ‘second wave’ of SARS-CoV-2 sweeping across the US, the WHO revealed Thursday that an accounting of the total case numbers and deaths recorded on Tuesday (48 hours ago) amounted to 140,000 new cases, the highest number since the outbreak began. Another 6,800 deaths were also reported, the highest number since April, Nikkei Asian Review reports.
Nearly half of these new cases were recorded in Latin America, where Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and other countries are all struggling with a surge of infections in the region as decisions by Brazil and Mexico to not take the outbreak seriously have apparently come back to haunt the entire region.
Circling back to Thursday, Tokyo reported 41 infections on Thursday, up from 16 a day earlier, while South Korea saw 34 new cases, down from 37 a day ago, not exactly a sign of another outbreak.
As the worldwide count of COVID-19 infections surpasses 8.25 million (JHU reported 8,320,288 as of early Thursday morning, along with 447,628 deaths), the death toll is on the cusp of passing 450k. Following a brief spat, the US and China have struck an agreement to allow four weekly flights between the two countries, easing a standoff over travel restrictions as Beijing blames travelers from abroad and imported seafood for some of the latest outbreak. Delta will resume passenger flights between Shanghai and Seattle next week, via Seoul, and once-a-week flights from Seattle and Detroit in July.
In more local news, as Beijing tightens restrictions on movement – to leave the city, one requires a clean bill of health showing no infection, and residential compounds have faced ‘partial’ lockdowns – party officials on Thursday announced a new initiative to improve cleanliness and hygiene at the city’s markets. A major wholesale market in Beijing’s Fengtai District has been blamed as the epicenter of the latest outbreak in the city, which has purportedly spread to the surrounding area.
“The epidemic is a mirror that not only reflects the dirty and messy aspects of wholesale markets but also their low level management conditions,” the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection says.
In other news, after testing hundreds of thousands of people in Beijing alone over the past week, city officials discovered just 21 cases on Wednesday. The Chinese CDC’s chief epidemiologist said after that Beijing’s outbreak has been brought under control, although new cases could emerge over the next few days.
A China CDC chief epidemiologist said that Beijing’s outbreak has already been brought under control, but warns that new cases will continue to emerge over the next two days. Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist, explained Thursday during a press briefing that the appearance of new cases doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve just been infected. For example, the cases confirmed on Wednesday were likely infected a week ago, on June 12, he said.
Despite these reassurances, Chinese officials have continued to blame food imports for the latest outbreak, which they initially attributed to ‘European’ salmon (because the viral strains found in Beijing resembled strains from Europe, allegedly). After customs officials ramped up testing of imported food samples this past week, the government confirmed Thursday that all 32,174 samples of imported seafood, meat, vegetables, fruit and other related products had tested negative, according to a statement from China Customs.
Moving on to the major hotspots, India reported 12,881 new cases on Thursday, another record jump, bringing the country’s tally to 366,946. The total includes 12,237 deaths, up 334 from Wednesday morning. Ratings agency Fitch cut its outlook for India to “negative” from “stable” on Thursday based on the view that “the coronavirus pandemic has significantly weakened India’s growth outlook for this year and exposed the challenges associated with a high public-debt burden” – putting the world’s second-most populous country at risk of a junk rating.
Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia reported another record jump, with 1,331 new coronavirus infections, taking its total number of cases to 42,762, surpassing Singapore. Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto said 63 more deaths were also reported, bringing the nationwide total to 2,339, the highest coronavirus death toll in East Asia outside of China.
While the surge in new cases around the world is alarming, and justifiably so, Russia reported just 7,790 new cases on Thursday, its lowest daily rate of new infections in six weeks, bringing the nationwide total to 561,091. Another 182 people died over the last 24 hours, according to Russia’s coronavirus crisis response center, bringing the official death toll to 7,660, Al Jazeera reports.
California reported 4,000 new cases last night, a record total for the state, landing it back on the NYT’s list of states where cases are increasing. To be sure, the list has shrunk by just 20 states on Thursday, down from 23 earlier in the week, as Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri and Kentucky moved to the list of states where cases are mostly the same.
But as the US struggles with a rebound that – as Dr. Scott Gottlieb pointed out earlier – is geographically limited in scope…
New Covid cases vary by region of the country, with hardest hit parts now showing biggest declines, while other regions expand. This probably reflects, in part, greater precautions being taken by people in regions with the worst, early impacts like New York. h/t @COVID19Tracking pic.twitter.com/FDUc5bLFH0
— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) June 18, 2020
…it’s important to remember that although the US has the most cases by far, the outbreak in Europe was much worse when adjusted for population density.
Coronavirus deaths worldwide per one million population as of June 18, 2020, by country
Finally, as we reported last night, a senior Aussie official said yesterday that Australia may not reopen its borders to foreign travelers ever again.