Global COVID-19 total passes 6 million

Health workers wearing N95s and face shields
Health workers wearing N95s and face shields

US National Guard, Michael Schwenk / Flickr cc

The global COVID-19 total topped 6 million cases today, as Brazil's cases hit new daily highs and as large numbers continue to be reported in other large countries such as the United States, Russia, and India.

It took only 9 days for illnesses to rise from 5 million to 6 million, which is 3 days less than it took for totals to rise from 3 million to 4 million, and from 4 million to 5 million. The global total is at 6,014,117, and 367,627 people have died from their infections, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

No let-up in epicenter cases

Brazil reported 26,928 cases yesterday, a daily record daily, while adding 1,124 deaths, lifting its fatality count above Spain's to fifth highest in the world, Agence France-Presse reported. Brazil, with the second most cases in the world, now has 465,166 cases as of yesterday.

Elsewhere, India today reported a record high of 7,964 cases, boosting its total to 173,763, the ninth highest total in the world. Mumbai is one of the country's hot spots, and its lockdown has been extended to Jun 30 in high-risk areas, but some restrictions will be relaxed in some situations beginning on Jun 8, Reuters reported. They include opening of restaurants, malls, and religious buildings.

Russia today reported 8,952 more cases, and though Moscow is the country's main hot spot, an outbreak in villages in Dagestan region, about 1,000 miles south of Moscow, has prompted crisis meetings that resulted in an order for medical reinforcements, Reuters reported yesterday.

The region has the highest number of deaths outside of Moscow, which, according to central government figures, is 201, though regional officials say the total is more than three times higher.

EU urges US to reconsider WHO pullout

Global reaction to President Trump's announcement yesterday that the United States will cut ties to the World Health Organization (WHO) continue to reverberate across the globe.

European Union (EU) officials today issued a statement in response that said the EU continues to support the WHO and has already provided additional funding. "As the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the main task for everyone is to save lives and contain and mitigate this pandemic," they said, adding that a resolution led by the EU to investigate the international response to the pandemic at the earliest appropriate moment was adopted earlier this month by the World Health Assembly.

Actions that weaken the international response must be avoided, they said. "In this context, we urge the US to reconsider its announced decision."

In other global developments:

  • Members of a UK advisory group today warned that England could lose control of its COVID-19 outbreak if it eases its lockdown, which is in its early stages, Reuters reported. Four members of its Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies said easing restrictions is premature and that the newly launched track-and-trace system hasn't been tested and probably won't be able to handle an infection rate of about 8,000 new cases a day.

  • Paris parks and gardens reopened today, ahead of a move to phase 2 of eased lockdown restrictions in France, Reuters reported. Visitors must observe social distancing, are urged to wear masks, and are limited to gatherings of 10 or fewer people.

Supreme Court weighs in on church case

In the United States, the Supreme Court last night turned down a California church's request to ease the state's restrictions on attendance at worship services, NBC News reported. The decision is the first to weigh religious freedom and public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 5-to-4 decision was marked by Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court's liberal members. The court's action denied the church's application for a stay of statewide restrictions ordered by California Governor Gavin Newsom, which limits attendance to 25% of capacity or a maximum of 100.

Writing in his opinion, Roberts said though California rules put restrictions on places of worship, they appear to be consistent with the First Amendment's free exercise clause.

Lake of the Ozarks case found

Meanwhile, a person who attended the crowded Memorial Day celebration at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, has been diagnosed as having COVID-19, CNN reported yesterday, citing Camden County public health officials.

The patient's symptoms began on May 24, and he or she visited multiple bars on that and the following day. Officials urged people who were at the event to monitor for symptoms.

Following the gathering, St Louis health officials called the crowded party attendance reckless and urged partygoers to isolate for 14 days before returning to their jobs.

The US COVID-19 total grew to 1,765,723 cases today, and 103,674 people have died from their infections, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

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