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Coronavirus milestones: Deaths pass 400,000, cases hit 7 million

By Allen Cone
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Coronavirus milestones: Deaths pass 400,000, cases hit 7 million
Chinese download a government Health Kit APP and input their identity details before being allowed to enter a shopping area in Beijing on Sunday. Despite China's declaration that the reemergence of the Covid-19 threat in the capital is minimal, precautions are still in place to monitor and trace people's movements. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

June 7 (UPI) -- Five months after the first fatality was reported in mainland China, the coronavirus pandemic reached two grim milestones Sunday: 400,000 deaths and 7 million cases.

Since Chinese media reported one death on Jan. 11, outbreaks have spread around the world, first hitting European nations hard then affecting the United States and now Latin America.

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By the end of Sunday, the death toll stood at 405,081, an increase of 3,382, and 7,082,212 cases, a rise of 113,090, according to tracking by Worldometers.info. The increases Saturday were 4,253 deaths and 128,677 cases.

China's deaths and cases were the most for a few months but it has slid to 18th worldwide with 4,634 fatalities -- and no fatality reported since April 26. And since May 1, only 16 cases have been reported for a total of 83,036 in 18th place.

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Italy surged past China but the outbreak has now largely been contained.

Since May 1, 5,663 deaths have been reported in Italy for a total of 33,899. Several European nations became hot spots with Britain, Spain and France joining Italy in the top 10. But the curve has been flattened and only 160 deaths were reported Sunday -- 77 in No. 2 Britain, 53 in No. 3 Italy, 13 in No. 4 France, 1 in No. 5 Spain, 15 in No. 8 Belgium and 1 in No. 9 Germany. On Saturday, the increase was 328, including 204 in Britain. The daily rate was as high as 1,494 in France, 1,172 in Britain, 919 in Italy, 961 in Spain,

The United States has surged to the most deaths -- 112,469 -- and cases with more than 2 million. The death toll was more than half that on May 1 -- 65,918. The first fatality in the United States was announced on Feb. 29.

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In the past few weeks, two nations in the Western Hemisphere -- Brazil and Mexico -- have had surging deaths and cases.

In one week, Brazil has moved past Spain, France and Italy into third place, rising from 28,834 to 36,078. Two weeks ago, the figure was 22,013.

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On Sunday, the South American nation reported 1,382 deaths within the past 24 hours, ballooning its total to 37,312 deaths. It also reported 12,581 new confirmed cases for a total of 685,427.

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Brazil on Saturday reported 910 more deaths and a record 1,492 fatalities on Thursday. The Latin nation reported 27,581 cases Saturday after a record 31,890 cases Thursday for second place behind the United States.

Health experts believe the death toll and cases are much higher because of the lack of testing: around 1 million in a nation of 209.5 million.

And on Saturday, the nation stopped publishing the number of total deaths and infections as well as weekly and monthly figures in Brazilian states. Instead, only additional deaths and cases each day are being reported.

"It is very difficult to make predictions that you think are reliable,'' Fabio Mendes, an adjunct professor in software engineering at the Federal University of Brasilia, who studies Brazilian coronavirus statistics, said in an interview. "We know the numbers are bad."

On Saturday, President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted his country's disease totals are "not representative" of Brazil's current situation, implying the spread of the virus is being overestimated. The president has disdained social distancing, often appearing with people, and has threatened to pull out of the World Health Organization.

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Pope Francis, who is from Argentina, has been critical of the situation in Brazil. He urged people in countries emerging from lockdown to keep following authorities' rules on social distancing, hygiene and limits on movement.

"Be careful, don't cry victory, don't cry victory too soon," Francis said from his apartment window to people gathered in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. "They are rules that help us to prevent the virus from spreading."

Also in Latin America, Mexico has soared into seventh place in one week, passing Germany and Belgium, reporting 188 deaths on Sunday after 341 on Saturday and 625 on Friday. That was all after recording a record 1,092 on Wednesday. Also, 3,484 cases were reported on Sunday. The nation's deaths have nearly doubled from 7,179 to 13,699 in two weeks.

Despite the rising numbers, the nation is gradually reopening after a quarantine since March. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ended the quarantine by embarking on a six-state tour last week.

Like the Brazilian president, Lopez Obrador has minimized the severity of the coronavirus' threat. Allowed were soccer tournaments, concerts and preparations for the spring tourist season.

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"Most people think from the government's message that the worst is over," Dr. Francisco Moreno, who heads the COVID-19 unit of ABC Medical Center in Mexico City, told The New York Times. "We are at the peak of the epidemic."

He said the hospital has had to turn patients away, despite doubling its capacity.

The United States has closed the border with Mexico except for goods and essential travel.

The border with Canada also is affected. The Great White North is in 11th place in deaths with a total of 7,800, including 27 more deaths over Sunday and 70 more deaths over Saturday.

The far majority of deaths in North America are in those three countries, with the United States well in the lead but has seen a slowing of fatalities of late recording 373 deaths over Sunday, its lowest tally since registering 355 deaths on March 26.

The Dominican Republic is fourth with 538 of the total 135,537. In South America, there have been 50,222 deaths, with Peru in 15th place worldwide with 5,465 after recording 164 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Europe has 178,943 deaths but only 360 more in the entire continent were reported Sunday.

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One hot spot is Russia, which reported 8,984 cases for a total of 467,673 -- third in the world -- and 134 more deaths for 14th at 5,859 Sunday.

Sweden, which has been doing "herd immunity," on Sunday reported three more deaths at 4,659 as well as 81 new cases after 1,056 Friday. Neighboring Norway reported zero deaths for the third day in a row to remain at 238 as well as 16 more cases.

Restrictions are being lifted in Europe.

On Saturday, Britain's government revealed that places of worship can reopen for private prayer on June 15, the same day nonessential shops, including department stores, are due to reopen. This week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to meet with his Cabinet on the next steps to ease the lockdown.

In France, cafes and restaurants were partially reopened last week. On Friday, immunologist Jean-François Delfraissy, declared the epidemic "under control" in France, in an interview on French radio. He is head of the government's scientific council.

In the past few days, Spain has listed only a few additional deaths and has been reducing the list to end duplicates. Shops and restaurants have been open with up to 50 percent capacity and the nation is considering allowing local governments to transition from Phase 3 to the "new normal" before June 21 when the state of alarm officially ends.

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On June 15, many European nations, including France, Germany and Switzerland, plan to open their borders and relax entry restrictions.

Travel has been gradually increased from and to China.

On Friday, the United States government said it will let Chinese airlines operate a limited number of flights to the U.S. Allowed will be two flights per week between the U.S. and China, which equals the number of flights that China's aviation authority will allow for U.S. carriers.

China has been attempting to reduce the risk of infection from other nations. On Sunday, China reported six new cases, including five imported.

In a report issued Sunday, China defended its government's response and said it provided information in a timely and transparent manner.

In South Korea, 57 additional cases of coronavirus were announced, the second day in a row that its daily jump is above 50. In all, there have been 11,776 cases with 273 deaths as the nation has rigid testing, including efforts to contain local hot spots.

Elsewhere in Asia, where there have been 35,025 deaths, India reported 261 deaths and 10,864 cases. The nation is 12th worldwide in deaths with 7,207 and sixth in cases, with 257,486.

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After a 10-week lockdown, India plans to reopen businesses, including malls, hotels and places of worship, on Monday.

Japan's Tokyo metropolitan government will ask people working at nightclubs and similar entertainment establishments to regularly take coronavirus tests, Gov. Yuriko Koike said Sunday.

On Saturday, Japan announced seven additional deaths and 39 new cases.

In Oceania, there have been 102 deaths in Australia and 22 in New Zealand. The last reported death in Australia was May 23 and in New Zealand, it was May 28.

In Africa, Egypt has reported 1,237 deaths and South Africa 998 among the 5,215 fatalities.

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