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Coronavirus global death toll passes 1 million

By Allen Cone
Coronavirus global death toll passes 1 million
Some Chinese continue to wear protective face masks outdoors while others do not after the government lifted the requirement in Beijing on August 24. Mainland China was the original epicenter of the pandemic, announcing the first fatality from the disease on January 15. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 27 (UPI) -- More than eight months after the first death was reported from the coronavirus in mainland China, the global death toll passed 1 million Sunday, according to one tracking service.

A 61-year-old man who was a regular customer at a market in Wuhan was announced as a fatality by the nation on Jan. 15.

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Since then, the toll has skyrocketed, first spreading to Europe, then to the United States with hotpots in South America, Mexico and India. Worldometers.info reported 1,002,389 late Sunday. Johns Hopkins tracking lists the total deaths at 996,674. Over 260 days, the average number of deaths is around 3,800 per day.

For the first few months, mainland China was the world leader but the nation hasn't reported a death since late April 26, and its count of 4,634 deaths ranks 32nd in the world. Since April, the nation has also reported only a few cases for a total of 85,351.

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That is a small fraction of the 33 million cases worldwide. The world's mortality rate is 2.9% compared with 5.4% in China.

On April 12, the United States overtook Italy with the most deaths, tallying a world-leading 204,752 and 7,114,235 cases for a 3.1% mortality rate, according to Johns Hopkins. With only 4% of the world's population, the nation has 20% of the fatalities and 22% of the infections.

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Nations from the Western Hemisphere occupy three of the top four positions in the world for fatalities: No. 2 Brazil with 141,741 and Mexico with 76,430. The exception is India in third place with 94,503.

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Along with Brazil, several nations are hotspots in South America with a total toll of 248,722 deaths, including 1,532 more Saturday and 966 on Sunday. With five in the top 15, Peru is seventh with 32,262, Colombia 11th with 25,488, Argentina 14th with 15,749 and Chile is in 15th with 12,641.

The disease is so deadly, Brazil on Thursday canceled Rio de Janeiro's Carnival celebration scheduled in mid-February for the time in 108 years. In 1912, it was canceled due to the death of the long-time foreign minister Jose Maria da Silva Paranhos Jr.

The nation's first confirmed coronavirus case was on Feb. 26, one day after this year's carnival ended.

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On Saturday, Brazil reported 732 new deaths.

Mexico is fourth in deaths but eighth in cases with 726,431 as the nation of 129.2 million people has conducted only 1.6 million tests. In comparison, the United States with 331.5 million people has conducted 103.5 million. China reportedly leads the world with 160 million tests.

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On Saturday, Mexico reported 405 fatalities.

The border between Mexico and the United State will remain closed through Oct. 21 for nonessential travel.

In addition, the U.S.-Canada border also is closed.

Canada is far below the United States and Mexico with 9,268 deaths, just 51 in the past week, including six Sunday. But cases have been spiking, including 1,776 on Monday, which is the highest since May with 1,454 reported Sunday.

On Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that a second wave of the coronavirus is already underway in most of the nation.

"We're on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring," Trudeau said during a rare address to the nation. "I know this isn't the news that any of us wanted to hear and we can't change today's numbers or even tomorrow's. Those were already decided by what we did or didn't do two weeks ago.

"It's all too likely we won't be gathering for Thanksgiving [Oct. 12] but we still have a shot at Christmas. Together we have the power to get this second wave under control," he said.

In North America, all but around 13,000 of the 307,674 deaths have been in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Saturday's increase was 1,249. The increase for Sunday was 738.

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Asia has recorded 189,522 deaths, an increase of more than 1,700, with more than half of the total in India. The continent ranks fifth for most deaths but has the most cases with 10.2 million. The increase Saturday was 1,799.

India is second in the world with 5,992,532 cases, second behind the United States. On Sunday, the nation reported 88,600 new cases with a record 97,894 set earlier this month.

"The number of cases per day is a matter of concern. And everybody from governments, union governments, state governments, medical professionals, everybody is concerned," Dr. Arvind Kumar, a lung specialist at New Delhi's Gangaram Hospital, told ABC News. "And are we constantly having discussion, dialog, on what to do to contain this number?"

The nation also reported 1,124 deaths and consistently leads the world in daily death totals.

In May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi began easing the lockdown. The Taj Mahal was reopened to tourists Monday after being closed for six months.

Iran is the only other Asian nation in the top 10 in deaths -- 10th with 25,589, including 195 more on Sunday.

South Korea and Japan have controlled the pandemic.

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Since March in South Korea, cases have exceeded 300 only seven times, all in August, with a high of 441. The nation reported 61 on Saturday and 95 on Sunday.

The death toll stands at 401.

Japan also experienced a surge in cases in August with a peak of 1,998 on Aug. 3. Saturday's increase was 558.

Since July 29 in Japan, deaths have risen more than 50% from 1,001 to 1,545. But the most was only 19 on Sept. 5 and eight on Saturday. On Sunday, it reported only five lives lost to the disease.

In October, Japan plans to reopen borders for foreign visitors, including students and business people, but excluding tourists Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Friday.

"To revitalize the economy, it is indispensable to resume international travel," Suga told a meeting of a government task force on coronavirus response, which made the decision on the condition that sufficient measures are taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

Cases have been surging in Israel in the past week, including a record 11,316 on Wednesday, the first time it was more than 10,000. Sunday's increase was 2,274.

These spikes came after Rosh Hashanah, which began at sundown on Sept. 18.

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The Health Ministry is concerned that Yom Kippur, which starts Sunday at sundown, could lead to a sharp rise in infection.

On Friday it was reported about 400 Jerusalem yeshiva students who had attended Rosh Hashanah prayers together were infected.

Last week, Israel imposed tighter restrictions during the country's second general lockdown, including limitations on workplaces and prayer gatherings.

The nation has recorded 1,450 deaths, including nine more.

In Europe, where four nations are in the top 10 for most dead, cases also have been spiking.

Britain reported 5,693 cases Sunday, two days after a record 6,874. Britain announced 17 additional deaths for 41,988 in fifth place with the record daily high 1,172.

France announced 11,123 cases Sunday, three days after a record 16,096, as well as 27 deaths for eighth place. Spain didn't report any data over the weekend but Friday's cases were 4,122, compared with a record 11,588 on Sept. 18, with 114 more deaths in ninth place.

Italy has kept its cases below 2,000 since April 29 with 1,766 reported Sunday. The nation, which at one time was the world's epicenter and reached 919 in one day, reported 17 deaths and is in fifth place.

With cases rising in Britain, a leading science adviser is urging "mini-lockdowns."

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"A circuit breaker, or mini-lockdown, can be used to reset the clock," Professor John Edmunds, a member of the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, told the Guardian's Observer. "The idea would be to bring the incidence back to what it was a few weeks earlier. You replace two weeks of exponential growth with two weeks of a decline in cases.

"This can have a big effect on the total number of cases, particularly if it is implemented shortly after the epidemic starts to grow."

Last week, the government imposed tighter coronavirus restrictions in one-quarter of Britain, including bans on household mixing. Those added measures included London.

In Europe, there have been 220,285 deaths, including 228 on Sunday and 557 on Saturday.

In Oceania, there are 912 deaths with Australia at 872 and New Zealand at 25.

Since May 29, New Zealand has reported three deaths with the last one Sept. 16. And cases stand at 1,833.

In one week, Australia has reported 24 deaths, including two Sunday.

Metropolitan Melbourne will begin easing lockdown measures at midnight Monday. That includes lifting the curfew with public gatherings between two households up to five people allowed. In addition, outdoor pools and child care centers can reopen. And 127,000 people can go back to work.

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"Seven weeks ago, our average case numbers were peaking at more than 400 every single day. Today, Melbourne's rolling case average is 22.1. It's a remarkable thing -- and an achievement that belongs to every single Victorian," Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement Sunday.

But he stressed: "That is something we can all be pleased about but that doesn't mean this is over."

In Africa, there have been 35,215 deaths, which is about 1,000 more from the previous week, led by South Africa with 16,398, including 64 more Saturday and 22 on Sunday followed by Egypt with 5,883 with 16 more Saturday and 14 on Sunday. South Africa has the 10th-most cases in the world at 670,766.

South Africa went into a lower level 1 lockdown last week. Venues are capped at 50% capacity, including 50 people indoors and 500 outdoors. Gyms and recreational facilities have had limits increased to 50% of total capacity.

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