As the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic hits hard around the world, the global tally of confirmed coronavirus cases has hit 60 million, with the pace of new infections accelerating and the United States reporting record numbers of hospitalizations.
The U.S. has reported over 1 million new COVID-19 cases in less than a week, taking its total reported infections to nearly 13 million, more than a fifth of all infections recorded worldwide, and its death toll has risen to 260,000. The number of new daily cases has neared 200,000 for the past several days. That's about five times the number of new daily cases the U.S. reported as recently as September, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In the state of California, the average number of new coronavirus cases has tripled in the last month alone. The virus is now infecting more Californians every day than at any previous point in the COVID-19 pandemic, as reported by dpa. While the federal government continues to take a relatively hands-off approach, state and local governments have become more aggressive in hopes of bending the curve on new cases.
Meanwhile, U.S. hospitalizations for COVID-19 surpassed 87,000 on Tuesday, an all-time high, while 30 of the 50 states reported a record number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations this month, according to a Reuters tally of official data.
The region including Europe and Russia has had 17.1 million confirmed infections and nearly 388,000 deaths, making it the region with the most recorded cases. In the last week, 1.7 million new cases were documented in 52 countries of the European region, 10% fewer than the preceding week, which shows that the spread of the pandemic there is slowing.
Russia on Thursday registered record numbers for daily infections and deaths from the coronavirus for the second time in less than a week. Health officials reported 25,487 new infections, bringing the national total to 2,187,990 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, the fifth-highest caseload in the world. Health authorities also reported 524 deaths, raising Russia's total fatalities from COVID-19 to 38,062. It was the second time since Saturday that the country had registered record increases for both cases and deaths. Despite the surge, which President Vladimir Putin last week described as "alarming," Russia has not imposed the kind of lockdowns seen in some parts of Europe.
Germany on Thursday passed the grim milestone of more than 15,000 deaths from the coronavirus. The Robert Koch Institute, the country’s disease control center, said that another 389 deaths were recorded overnight, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 15,160. Germany has seen 983,588 total cases of the coronavirus after adding 22,368 overnight, the agency said.
Germany embarked on a so-called “wave-breaker” shutdown on Nov. 2, closing restaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities but leaving schools, shops and hair salons open. It was initially slated to last four weeks, but Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state governors agreed late Wednesday to extend it through Dec. 20 with a goal of pushing the number of new coronavirus cases in each region below 50 per 100,000 inhabitants per week. It’s currently at 140 per 100,000.