BEIJING, Jun 28 (Reuters) – Global coronavirus cases approached 10 million on Sunday according to a Reuters count, marking a major milestone in the spread of respiratory disease that has so far killed nearly half a million people in seven months.
The figure is roughly double the number of serious influenza illnesses reported annually, according to the World Health Organization.
The milestone will come when many affected countries are easing the blockades while making major changes to working and social life that could last a year or more until a vaccine is available.
Some countries are experiencing a resurgence of infections, leading authorities to partially restore the blockages, in what experts say could be a recurring pattern in the coming months and in 2021.
North America, Latin America and Europe account for about 25% of cases, while Asia and the Middle East have about 11% and 9% respectively, according to Reuters count, which uses government reports.
So far, there have been more than 497,000 disease-related deaths, roughly the same as the number of influenza deaths reported annually.
The first cases of the new coronavirus were confirmed on January 10 in Wuhan, China, before infections and deaths emerged in Europe, then the United States, and then Russia.
The pandemic has now entered a new phase, with India and Brazil struggling with outbreaks of more than 10,000 cases per day, putting great pressure on resources.
The two countries accounted for more than a third of all new cases in the past week. Brazil reported a record 54,700 new cases on June 19. Some researchers said the death toll in Latin America could rise to more than 380,000 in October, from around 100,000 this week.
The total number of cases continued to rise at a rate of between 1-2% per day for the past week, below rates above 10% in March.
Countries like China, New Zealand and Australia have seen new outbreaks in the past month, despite largely canceling local transmission.
In Beijing, where hundreds of new cases were linked to an agricultural market, testing capacity has increased to 300,000 per day.
The United States, which has reported the most cases in any country with more than 2.5 million, managed to curb the spread of the virus in May, only to see how it spread in recent weeks to rural areas and other places that had not previously been reported. affected.
In some countries with limited testing capabilities, case numbers reflect a small proportion of total infections. About half of the reported infections are known to have recovered.
To view a Reuters interactive, open this link in an external browser: tmsnrt.rs/2Zedzk8 Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Daniel Wallis