LOS ANGELES - According to the most recent data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, more than 13 million people were confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19 globally, an unsurprising milestone that follows news of record-breaking daily confirmed cases in the U.S. and around the world.
The staggering number signals that the world may be losing some of the ground it gained in addressing the pandemic.
As of July 13, there were more than 570,000 deaths and 7.1 million recoveries across the world. In the United States alone, there were more than 3.3 million confirmed cases, 135,000 deaths and over 1 million recoveries.
Brazil has recently emerged as the world’s runner-up in terms of coronavirus infections and deaths with the second-highest amount of confirmed COVID-19 cases at over 1.8 million. Last week, Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, a leader known for his administration’s downplaying of the COVID-19 threat, tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Even countries that were previously thought to have largely contained the threat of the virus are now seeing rising case counts. Melbourne, Australia recently re-implemented safety restrictions following a new surge of nearly 200 confirmed cases on July 7, according to The Guardian.
After reopening last month, Hong Kong Disneyland shut its doors once again on Monday due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in the region.
On July 13, an Associated Press report indicated that governments in Britain and France were mulling over requiring people to wear masks while in public. The European Union at large has barred American travelers from visiting its member countries due to high COVID-19 case numbers in the U.S.
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In the U.S., many states are continuing to grapple with surging case counts amid a shortage of hospital space and critical PPE for health care workers. Florida reported a record 15,283 cases for July 10 alone, while California Gov. Gavin Newsom extended the previous closure of indoor dining in multiple areas while announcing the re-closure of gyms, hair salons and other businesses in most parts of the Golden State.
The rise in confirmed case counts is particularly troubling amid warnings from hundreds of scientists in dozens of countries around the world that the coronavirus is airborne. Summer heat waves are pushing people indoors, which experts say can contribute to the spread of the virus if enclosed areas are not properly ventilated and if people are not practicing social distancing or wearing masks.
The term “herd immunity” has spread in conversation about the novel coronavirus almost as a beacon of hope in the fight against the deadly disease — until, at least, a vaccine is created. But researchers continue to find evidence that the concept of immunity after widespread infection may not apply to COVID-19.
While studies have indicated that remdesivir is effective in treating patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms, the United States currently has its hands on most of the world’s supply for the upcoming months. As of July 13, there were four vaccine candidates in large-scale efficacy tests, according to the New York Times.
Even if a vaccine is readily available by year’s end or in early 2021, there are doubts it will fully quell the spread of the virus, due to groups such as anti-vaxxers opting against receiving it. Dr. Anthony Fauci previously warned that the U.S. may see 100,000 new confirmed cases per day if the situation is brought under control. Johns Hopkins reported there were nearly 60,000 new confirmed cases in the U.S. on July 12.