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Brazil, Mexico coronavirus deaths, cases climbing exponentially

By
Allen Cone
A man wears a facial mask adorned with the Mexican flag and a message that reads AMLO go away now -- in reference to Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, during a protest in Guadalajara, Sunday. A vehicle caravan accuses the leader of having put the sovereignty, integrity and independence of the people of Mexico at risk, amid the coronavirus health contingency, organizers said. Photo by Francisco Guasco/EFE-EPA
A man wears a facial mask adorned with the Mexican flag and a message that reads "AMLO go away now" -- in reference to Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, during a protest in Guadalajara, Sunday. A vehicle caravan accuses the leader of having put "the sovereignty, integrity and independence of the people of Mexico at risk, amid the coronavirus health contingency," organizers said. Photo by Francisco Guasco/EFE-EPA

May 31 (UPI) -- The number of deaths and cases in two Latin American nations -- Brazil and Mexico -- are climbing exponentially as other places in the world, including Europe and Asia, are reporting data at a fraction of increases from weeks ago.

In two days, Brazil has surged to fourth place in the world behind only the United States, Britain and Italy, passing Spain on Friday and France on Saturday. Mexico has climbed into seventh place, surpassing Germany on Saturday and Belgium on Sunday after being out of the top 10 a few weeks ago.

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Six European nations in the top 10 -- United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, Germany -- reported a total of 237 deaths Sunday and 416 new deaths Saturday, according to tracking by Worldometers.info. Often, each nation recorded far more than those numbers in one day, including Italy, which at one time was the epicenter.

Deaths and cases in Asia, however, are minimal, as mainland China, the original epicenter, hasn't reported a death since April 26 and in the past week zero cases were reported for the first time in separate days. South Korea in the past week has reported only three deaths for a total of 269, as well as 78 cases for a total of 11,468.

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Globally, the death toll was 373,697 Sunday and cases were at 6.2 million. The United States remains the leader with nearly 106,000 deaths, including a world-high 638, and more than 1.8 million cases.

Deaths spiked in neighboring Canada with a gain of 222, the fourth most in the world Sunday and most ever in the nation. Canada is 11th place overall with 7,295.

Farther south in the Western Hemisphere, deaths and cases are surging.

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On Sunday, Brazil reported 480 new deaths after 890 Saturday and 1,180 Friday. The record is 1,188 on May 21. In 14 days, the South American nation has nearly doubled from 16,118 to 29,314. One week ago, the toll was 22,716.

Brazil recorded 30,102 cases on Saturday, the most new cases in the world for the day and the highest single-day total for the country. The previous two days Brazil broke the record. On Sunday, new cases were 14,409 for a total of 514,849 in second place behind the United States.

The country, with a population of 230 million, has also only recorded 930,013 tests, suggesting the number of cases may be higher.

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been opposed to stringent restrictions, calling it "the tyranny of total quarantine." He also has mingled with the public without a face mask and is urging the resumption of Brazil's soccer season.

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On Sunday, Pope Francis noted the increasing toll in the Amazon region during a blessing of faithful from his apartment window in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City for the first time since the lockdown in Italy began March 9.

"We call on the Holy Spirit to grant light and strength to the Church and to society in Amazonia, which has been harshly tested by the pandemic," Francis said.

In South America, all but around 10,000 of the 40,0815 deaths through Sunday were in Brazil. Next highest is Peru with 4,506 for 17th place, including 135 Sunday.

Like in Brazil, the pandemic has been intensifying in Mexico, which is 4,300 miles north on the hemisphere.

Mexico reported 154 more deaths late Sunday after 364 more deaths late Saturday. The record was 501 on Tuesday. In two weeks, Mexico has risen from 5,177 deaths to 9,930. Also, an additional 3,1525 cases were reported for a total of 90,663 in 15th place.

Those numbers defy the stance of Mexico's President Andrés Manuel Lopez.

"We're doing well, the pandemic has been tamed," he said Thursday.

The president added he plans to resume touring the country when a period of nationwide quarantine winds down next week.

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But Alejandro Macías, who was Mexico's influenza chief during the 2009 swine flu pandemic, said there is a risk to be reopening the country without a full determination of the extent of the pandemic.

"The risk is that there will be another substantial rise in the number of cases and that this could cause some hospitals to collapse -- and if the hospitals collapse this could put the security and governance of some regions at risk," Macias said. "In many parts of the republic the curve has barely started to rise."

Another emerging hotspot is in Russia, especially in cases. On Sunday, the nation reported 9,268 new cases for a total of 405,843 in third place. The percentage of deaths is substantially lower than other nations. Russia reported 138 more deaths to rise to 4,693 in 14th place, passing mainland China.

Elsewhere in Europe, the situation is subsiding with only 446 deaths reported Sunday.

Of those deaths, 113 were in Britain for a total of 34,489. The previous low was 74 on March 23 and the daily high was 1,172 on April 21.

The kingdom is loosening restrictions that have been in place for a few months. On Monday, schools will be in session for some students and groups of up to six people can meet outdoors. Also vulnerable people, who have been required to stay at home and avoid any face-to-face contact, will be allowed to go outdoors Monday.

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Dominic Raab told Sky News on Sunday that Britain "can't just stay in lockdown forever."

But he cautioned: "If there is any uptick in the number of cases, if we stop making the progress I described, we will have to take further measures again and target the virus wherever it may appear."

Italy, since becoming an epicenter with the most deaths at one time, has been trending down. Two months after a daily high of 919 deaths, Italy's toll has declined, including some days in double digits. On Sunday, 75 deaths were recorded after 111 more on Saturday for a total of 33,340. Last Sunday, 50 deaths were reported -- the lowest since 36 on March 7.

On Saturday, the Tower of Pisa reopened to tourists, three months after closing due to coronavirus. Visitors are required to wear masks and are limited to 15 at a time at the monument.

France is in fifth place, reporting 34 deaths Sunday, the lowest since 27 on March 17, and far less than the record of 1,438 on April 15. France has posted double-digit increases since May 20.

Spain, which has been adjusting its totals because of duplicates, 2 more for a total of 27,127 as the nation is eliminate duplicate victims. Earlier last week, nearly 2,000 fatalities were stricken from the total. At one time, its daily high was 961 on April 2.

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Although Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez praised the "great results of the last few weeks," he urged a further 15-day extension of the state of emergency. During a news conference Sunday, he said "we can't relax" because "the virus is still present in our country."

On Sunday, Belgium reported 14 more deaths in eighth place and Germany added 2 for ninth place.

The only Asian nation in the top 10 is Iran, which reported 63 additional deaths Sunday.

In Israel, a holy site known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, reopened reopened Sunday morning in Jerusalem for the first time in more than two months. Worshippers were required to have their own prayer rug and mask. Only about 4,000 people arrived for dawn prayers, the director of the mosque told CNN, compared with hundreds of thousands the compound can host on a busy day.

Israel has reported 284 deaths, including none since three more on Thursday.

The Asian continent on Sunday had only 570 additional deaths for a total of 30,777, led by India with 223, fourth most in the world, in 13th place.

China, which had topped the world list until being replace by Italy then the United States, is in 15th place with 4,634 deaths and 83,001 cases.

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Outside mainland China, Hong Kong's tally of confirmed cases now stands at 1,085 cases and fourth deaths.

But health authorities there are investigating a possible workplace transmission of COVID-19 after a woman employed at an imported food warehouse was confirmed positive with the coronavirus on Sunday. Two other women also had been sick.

"As the two women who tested weak positive had symptoms earlier than the confirmed patient, there is a chance of a transmission chain within the warehouse," Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Center for Health Protection's communicable disease branch, said at a daily news briefing.

South Korea also takes stringent measures after an outbreak, including 270 cases linked to three venues, and conducted rigid testing.

Because some clubgoers avoided calls or had given false details on the door, venues in South Korea, including bars, nightclubs and indoor gyms, will be required to keep a QR code-based customer log starting June 10, Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said Sunday.

In all, there have been 270 deaths and 11,468 cases in South Korea.

The nation has avoided a lockdown, like Japan, which instituted a state of emergency that has been lifted in declaring the virus under control.

Japan reported 12 deaths for a total of 886, including 161 in two weeks, on Saturday.

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Oceania has 125 deaths -- 103 in Australia and 22 in New Zealand. In two weeks, Australia has added 27 fatalities and New Zeland just 1 since then.

The Australian film and TV industry has released its COVID-Safe Guidelines to resume entertainment production, including physical distancing.

African nations have reported 4,245 deaths, including 153 Sunday. Egypt leads with 959, followed by South Africa with 683 and Algeria with 653.

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