This weekend, the global number of COVID-19 cases crossed the 16-million mark, with the United States having the most cases at over 4 million. The global death toll was 646,996, the US accounting for nearly a fourth of the total with 146,788.
For Americans, Sunday was also a special day as the 100th day before the presidential election on November 3, Tuesday. The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to be the key issue in the election—more specifically, President Trump’s rather poor handling of the situation.
In terms of deaths in relation to population, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Belgium is at the top of the list, with 85 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Britain with 67, Spain with 61, Italy with 58, and Sweden with 56.
In comparison, the Philippines, which had 1.932 deaths last Sunday in a population of over 100 million, would score only about 2 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. But, it is said, the European countries as well as the US are doing much more testing, thus discovering many more cases.
The WHO said Brazil and India reported their highest daily increases in infections, while the figures remained high in South Africa. Infections and deaths in France, Germany, Britain, Japan, Sweden, and the US are widely believed to be higher than recorded, the WHO report said.
In other reports, North Korea, the world’s most reclusive country, reported its first coronavirus case – a defector who left for South Korea three years ago and returned recently. Authorities thus locked down the city of Kaesong near the border. South Korea reported its highest infection rate in four months, while Vietnam reported its first locally transmitted case in 100 days. Australia ordered a six-week partial lockdown and made face masks mandatory in Melbourne after a new outbreak.
In Africa, Kenya reported a surge in cases two weeks after reopening domestic flights and other activity. In the Middle East, Oman ordered a lockdown that would be in force during the Islamic feast of Eid al-Adha.
Everywhere in the world, there is a report on the surging coronavirus pandemic, with some countries doing better than others. But, on the whole, the virus continues to spread , thriving on ignorance and on the hard-headedness of those who continue to ignore the basic defenses of using face masks, keeping one’s distance, and frequent and thorough washing of hands. Until a vaccine is found and its use becomes widespread, people will have to protect themselves as best as they can.
Meanwhile, let us read about what the people of other countries are going through today and learn from their experience, for we are all fighting a common enemy in the COVID-19.