A Chinese woman takes photos of a nearly empty tourist shopping area as the coronavirus threat remains at level 2 in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo
June 28 (UPI) -- The coronavirus pandemic has topped two milestones -- 10 million cases and 500,000 deaths -- since the first cases were reported six months ago.
The cases total stands at 10,242,932, according to tracking by Worldometers.info on Sunday. And 5 percent of them have resulted in deaths: 502,808. One week ago, the cases passed 9 million and 470,000 deaths.
As the cases and deaths have been mounting, the mortality rate has been dropping. On June 1, there were 6.4 million cases and 380,000 deaths for a 6 percent rate.
For comparison sake, 0.14 percent of the 7.8 billion people in the world have contracted the disease. And the death toll is 64.4 per million people.
On Dec. 31, the first cases were confirmed in mainland China though health experts believe people were infected with the virus months earlier. For several weeks the vast majority of the cases were in the most populous country of 1.5 billion people, especially Wuhan.
In all, 4,634 people have died from the disease in the Asian nation, though no fatalities have been announced since April 27.
The outbreak first spread mainly to Europe, especially Italy, which eventually passed China for most deaths. Then it reached the United States where the first death was reported on Feb. 29.
The United States is clearly No. 1 with more than 128,000 deaths and nearly 2.6 million cases -- about one-quarter of the world totals. Around eight-tenths of 1 percent of the population have tested positive and 387 per million have died from the virus.
Cases have skyrocketed around the world, setting a record 194,190 in one day Friday and dropping to 176,568 Saturday. But the daily death count has stabilized with 4,547 reported Saturday after reaching a peak of 8,470 on April 15.
The number of cases recorded on Sunday was over 163,000, with the United States, Brazil and India accounting for more than half.
In China, where the first death was reported on Jan. 11 in Wuhan, the virus has been nearly eradicated. Since April 27 when the last death was reported, only 670 cases have been diagnosed, including 17 Sunday, 14 of which were locally transmitted in Beijing. Two weeks ago, 57 cases were the highest since 89 on April 13.
When an outbreak occurs, Chinese officials conduct extensive testing and contact tracing.
International airlines have started to resume flights to China after loosening of aviation restrictions.
Lufthansa is flying once a week between Frankfurt and Shanghai in the first regular scheduled flights operated by the German carrier since the pandemic began. United Airlines will resume a route between San Francisco and Shanghai, through Seoul, beginning July 8 and Delta Air Lines restarted China flights this week with twice-weekly trips into Shanghai.
South Korea also has largely contained the outbreak. The nation hasn't reported a death since Thursday -- the total is 282 -- and 62 cases on Sunday. The last big daily case spike was 79 on May 28.
South Korea soon will allow a limited number of fans at professional sporting events, the country's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said Sunday.
The situation also has stabilized in Europe. Italy reported its first death Feb. 21, peaking to a daily total of 919 on March 27. The country instituted a nationwide lockdown on March 9. On Saturday, Italy reported eight deaths -- matching the lowest since Feb. 29 -- and 22 on Sunday.
In all, five European nations are in the top 10 with third-place Britain reporting 36 Sunday, No. 6 Spain adding three, Belgium announcing one and France not reporting any data. Germany, which used to be in the top 10 and dropped to 13th, reported no deaths Sunday.
The European Union has been easing travel to and from its member nations.
Until Tuesday, nonessential travel has been restricted to most of its member-states. But starting Wednesday, European countries will allow travel again from more than a dozen countries, including China, that meet certain criteria, including containing the coronavirus. Most travelers from the United States reportedly will be banned because the outbreak has not been contained.
People who fly to Europe had been required to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine.
In addition, Britain plans to end the two-week quarantine period for people arriving from countries it deems to be lower risk for COVID-19.
In all, 190,725 people have died from the outbreak in Europe but only 258 deaths were announced Sunday.
Russia has experienced a spike in cases for weeks, including 6,791 for third place at 634,437 behind the United States and Brazil. Deaths have not been as pronounced with 104 reported Sunday for a total of 9,073 in 12th place, passing Germany.
Despite surging cases, about three-quarters of Russians have stopped working after the relaxation of quarantine measures, according to a survey by Work.Ru, cited by business daily RBC, reported Thursday.
Sweden has been doing "herd immunity." The nation didn't report any data over the weekend after 50 deaths were registered on Friday for a total of 5,280. Neighboring Norway didn't report any deaths to remain at 249 as well as 14 more cases.
In Asia, the death count has remained under 1,000 the past few days, including 914 Sunday for a total of 54,786.
Two Asian nations are in the top 10. India, which is the second-most populous nation with 1.4 billion people and is in eighth place, added 384 deaths after 414 Saturday as well as 19,620, which fell just below the record of 20,131 set the day before. Iran added 144 in 10th place.
In India, a 10,000-bed treatment facility is being constructed to deal with the surge in cases in the nation's capital, New Delhi. Starting Sunday, 2,000 beds will be available with the rest open by Wednesday.
The total death count in India is 16,487, compared with 9,520 two weeks ago.
The outbreak also is surging in Latin American nations.
Brazil has risen to second place behind the United Stated with 57,658 deaths, compared with 42,791 two weeks ago. On Saturday, its death increase of 994 was the most in the world. On Sunday, it recorded 555. The record is 1,492 set on June 4. Brazil also added 35,887 cases after a record 55,209 one week ago Friday. The South American nation has about half as many cases as the United States with 1,345,254.
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, who has minimized the calamity of the disease in favor of boosting the economy, has resisted increased testing.
He has appeared in public at several events without wearing a mask, including at rallies with supporters.
Last week a judge ordered Bolsonaro to wear a mask while in Brasilia.
"With the example of the president of Brazil, everything is more difficult for us," Sao Paulo governor Joao Doria told CNN last month. "He goes to the streets without masks. A wrong behavior and wrong indication. This is very sad for Brazil and makes everything more difficult for the governors in the states of Brazil."
Brazil accounts for 57,658 of the 82,342 deaths in South America. Peru is in 2nd place, adding 196 more deaths on Saturday and 182 on Sunday and Chile is in 3rd place, reporting more 279 deaths on Saturda7 and 162 on Sunday.
In North America, Mexico reported 602 more deaths late Saturday compared with 719 Friday as well as 4,410 cases. The high was 1,092 on June 4. Late Sunday, it reported 267 new deaths and 4,050 new cases.
The nation has risen from 16,872 deaths to 26,648 in two weeks into seventh place.
At least 60 University of Texas students who took a spring break trip to Mexico in March have been sickened by the virus, according to a report Wednesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They stayed in Cabo San Lucas. Of the 231 people tested for the novel virus, 64 tested positive.
The United States has extended its border restrictions with Mexico and Canada until July 21, according to a Federal Register update from the Department of Homeland Security. Goods are allowed to move between the nations.
On the other side of the U.S. border, Canada reported eight deaths on Saturday and six on Sunday for 14th place worldwide in deaths with 8,522 and 19th in cases with 103,250 after recording 218 new cases on Sunday.
In North America, the total fatality figure was 165,418 on Saturday with all but around 3,000 in the United States, Canada and Mexico. On Sunday, it increased to 166,386.
In Oceania, there have been 104 deaths in Australia and 22 in New Zealand. Australia reported one death on Wednesday and one on Thursday after not rising since May 23. The last reported death in in New Zealand was May 28.
Victoria is the only state in Australia testing returned travelers on day three and day 11.
Now all those returning to Victoria will need to test negative for coronavirus before being released from quarantine.
Deaths have been spiking in Africa, going from 5,215 three weeks ago to 9,698, including 202 Saturday and 179 on Sunday.
Egypt has reported 2,789 deaths compared with 2,106 one week ago and South Africa was at 2,456 compared with 1,877 seven days ago.