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WHO reports new coronavirus cases reach all-time high

The number of new Covid-19 cases worldwide has reached a record high at 212,326 cases in the last 24 hours, according to a situation report from the World Health Organization. 

The report says there have been more than 10.9 million confirmed Covid-19 cases globally, with 212,326 new cases in the last 24 hours. There have been at least 523,011 deaths around the world since the pandemic began, with 5,134 of those deaths reported in the last 24 hours.

The virus, which first emerged in China, has spread around the world with the epicenter shifting from East Asia to Europe and then to the Americas. The biggest increase reported Saturday occurred in North and South America, which saw 129,772 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total in the region to nearly 5.58 million.

Southeast Asia had 27,947 new cases with India and Bangladesh seeing the biggest increases in the region. The Eastern Mediterranean region saw 20,043 new cases with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran the hardest hit. Europe saw 19,694 new cases with the biggest increase in Russia. Africa had 12,619 cases which were overwhelmingly reported in South Africa, and the Western Pacific, which includes China, had 2,251 new cases. 

Europe has a total of 2.75 million cases, the Eastern Mediterranean has 1.13 million, Southeast Asia has nearly 900,000, Africa has more than 342,000, and the Western Pacific has nearly 222,000 cases.

The WHO noted that factors like case detection, definitions, testing strategies, reporting and lag times differ between countries, territories and areas. A top official with the agency warned this week that some countries may have to reintroduce lockdown measures as they struggle to contain the virus.

“Some countries who have had success in suppressing transmission who are opening up now may have a setback, may have to implement interventions again, may have to implement these so-called lockdowns again,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases unit, at a Wednesday news briefing in Geneva. “We hope not. We hope that we won’t have to go into widespread lockdown again. So it’s not too late to act fast.”

In mid-June, WHO said coronavirus cases reaching record numbers globally were not just the result of more countries testing. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s emergencies program, said on June 22 that hospital admissions and deaths were also rising. 

In the United States specifically, there have been 2.72 million cases of Covid-19 with 53,213 cases reported in the last 24 hours, according to WHO data. As of Saturday’s WHO report, 128,481 people had died in the U.S. from Covid-19 with 623 deaths reported in the last 24 hours. 

While confirmed cases are on the rise in the U.S. the virus appeared to be killing fewer people than it infects, The New York Times reported Friday, which experts said could be due to testing, treatment and “a shift in whom the virus is infecting.” But because of a lag in how deaths are attributed, there may still be an increase seen in Covid-19 fatalities.  

Brazil was another country in the Americas leading new cases; the country has seen nearly 1.5 million confirmed cases, with 48,105 new cases in the last 24 hours. The country has had 61,884 deaths due to the virus, with 1,252 reported in the last 24 hours. 

India also saw a large bump in new cases, with 22,771 new confirmed cases, for a total 648,315 cases in the country. The country has had 18,655 deaths, with 442 in the last 24 hours. 

Note: World Health Organization data differs slightly from statistics gathered by Johns Hopkins University, which is also frequently used to the track the global pandemic.

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