Reported Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases around the world reached 5 million on Thursday as some countries begin easing strict social distancing guidelines and look to reopen their economies, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The number of reported cases worldwide hit 5,000,038 and the global death toll now stands at 328,172, according to Hopkins.
The latest morbid milestone comes as the spread of the coronavirus across the world shows no signs of slowing down. Even as outbreaks in China and other countries appear to have abated, the pandemic has picked up speed in other parts of the world. The World Health Organization said Wednesday the number of newly reported coronavirus cases worldwide hit a daily record this week with more than 100,000 new cases over the last 24 hours.
Almost two-thirds of the cases were reported in just four countries, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference at the agency’s Geneva headquarters. “We still have a long way to go in this pandemic.”
The majority of new confirmed cases are coming from the Americas and led by the U.S., followed by Europe, according to the WHO’s daily report. The U.S. reported 45,251 new cases on Tuesday, according to the agency. Russia had the second most reported cases Tuesday at 9,263, according to the WHO.
Coronavirus Delayed epidemics
Eastern Europe is experiencing a delayed epidemic but could implement lessons that have been learned at great costs in Asia, North America and Western Europe, according to WHO officials. Russia has surpassed the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy as the country with the second-highest number of infections, according to JHU data.
“There are differences right now between Western Europe, which has been through that first big wave, and Eastern Europe, particularly Russian Federation, that is now experiencing higher numbers of disease,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s emergencies program, said at a press briefing on May 8.
WHO officials have warned against easing coronavirus restrictions and reopening economies too quickly, saying it could lead to a “vicious cycle” of economic and health disasters as cases resurge and officials have to reinstitute lockdowns.
It’s a “false equation” to choose between the economy and public health, Ryan said. “The worst thing that could happen,” economically, is that a country reopens and then has to shut down again to respond to a resurgence of the virus, Ryan said.
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