SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – As China moved closer to a new outbreak in Beijing, the coronavirus took hold elsewhere, including in the United States, where mounting infections in southern states have highlighted the risks of reopening economies without effective treatment or vaccines.
Another daily record hike in India on Friday pushed the country’s caseload to half a million, and other countries with large populations such as Indonesia, Pakistan and Mexico struggled with large caseloads and strained health care systems.
South Africa, responsible for about half of the infections on the African continent with 118,375, reported a record 6,559 new cases, as broadcasts increased after it unleashed one of the world’s toughest lockdowns earlier this month.
Mexico reported some of its highest 24-hour counts to date with 6,104 new cases and 736 additional deaths, when the Treasury secretary started isolating at home after a positive test.
In China, where the pandemic started in December, authorities released funds for large-scale testing and this month locked up parts of Beijing due to an outbreak that infected 260 people. The 11 new cases reported in the capital continue a downward trend, indicating that broadcasting has been largely under control.
The United States, which has the most infections in the world, is seeing daily jumps in COVID-19 cases reaching the peak reached in late April.
The 3,056 additional infections reported in Arizona were the fourth day in a week on Thursday with an increase of over 3,000. Broadcasts have increased following Republican Government Doug Ducey’s decision to lift restrictions on residence in May.
Twenty-three percent of the tests conducted in the state over the past seven days were positive, nearly three times the national average, and a record number of 415 patients were ventilated.
The numbers “continue to go in the wrong direction,” said Ducey, who confirmed that the state has postponed further attempts at reopening.
He opposed reporters’ questions about his position on the use of masks and his presence at President Donald Trump’s campaign event indoors this week at a Phoenix church. Many of the 3,000 attendees did not wear face cover.
Mississippi announced a record 1,092 new cases of coronavirus, the second time this week reaching new highs daily.
After one of the most aggressive attempts in the nation to reopen, Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott has suspended the lifting of further restrictions and reinstated a ban on elective surgeries in some places to preserve hospital space.
The United States reported 34,500 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, slightly less than the day before, but still near the peak of 36,400 reached April 24, according to a count tracked by Johns Hopkins University.
The daily average has risen by more than 50% in the past two weeks, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. Actual numbers are likely to be much higher due to limited testing and other factors.
The death toll has declined, although the number of infections has risen, possibly as a result of better medical treatment and better efforts to prevent infections among the most vulnerable, such as nursing home residents. An increasing proportion of cases in the US are among young people, who are more likely to survive a fight with COVID-19 than their older people.
“This is still serious,” said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “but we are in a different situation today than in March or April.”
India, which has the second largest population in the world, has seen record growth every day. The 24-hour spike of 17,296 new infections reported Friday increased the national caseload beyond 490,000, including 15,301 fatalities. Indian Railways delayed the resumption of regular train services by more than a month, until August 12.
In India and neighboring Pakistan, government leaders have opposed new restrictions, citing economic concerns. The fourth most populous country in the world, Indonesia, survived 50,000 cases on Thursday, with at least 2,620 deaths, the highest number of deaths and fatalities in Southeast Asia. That is an increase from just two positive cases in early March.
President Joko Widodo said his government wants the Indonesian economy to get back on track but safe from the virus, and began reopening the country earlier this month. The government says the pandemic is expected to increase the nation’s poverty rate to 10.2%.
A comeback of the virus also erased hard-earned gains in South Korea, which reported 39 recently confirmed cases on Friday, mainly from the densely populated capital area that had escaped the country’s worst outbreak in February and March. There is criticism that authorities, concerned about a fragile economy, were too quick to relax social distance guidelines and reopen schools from May.
Australia reported 37 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, including 30 in the state of Victoria, where health authorities are looking for an outbreak. Authorities said they tested 20,000 people in Melbourne’s suburbs as they went door to door trying to eradicate the virus.
In Europe, the official responsible for Spain’s response to COVID-19 says imported infections are a growing concern as the continent prepares to welcome more visitors.
Epidemiologist Fernando Simón said on Thursday that 54 people who had contracted the disease in the past week have been associated with recently arrived visitors to Spain. He suggested that controls should be strict and regional and local authorities should be prepared to apply local isolation to prevent the spread of the disease.
In Britain, health secretary Matt Hancock warned that the government has the power to shut down beaches and other public areas because of growing concerns about public compliance with social distance rules.
Huge crowds on English beaches caused concern on Thursday. Garbage cans overflowed, additional police were called, and the rural roads jammed by beachgoers now have signs saying the area is full.
There were also concerns about the jubilant Liverpool fans gathered outside the football club’s stadium to celebrate the team’s first league title in 30 years.
Associated Press journalists around the world contributed to this report.
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