LOS ANGELES - More than 600,000 people have died and over 14 million are confirmed to have COVID-19 across the world, a stark reminder of the pandemic’s ongoing severity in the months since cases of the novel coronavirus were first reported in Wuhan, China.
The milestones are according to the most recent data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. As of July 17, there were over 14 million confirmed cases, 600,000 deaths and 7.8 million recoveries from COVID-19 across the world.
India crossed 1 million coronavirus cases on Friday, third only to the United States and Brazil, prompting concerns about its readiness to confront an inevitable surge that could overwhelm hospitals and test the country’s feeble health care system.
A surge of 34.956 new cases in the past 24 hours took the national total to 1,003,832.
The Health Ministry also reported a record number of 687 deaths for a total of 25,602. It said 635,757 people have recovered and the recovery rate was continuing to improve at 63%.
In Brazil, the first deaths from COVID-19 reached a vast, remote region of the Amazon that Brazil's government says is home to greatest concentration of isolated Indigenous groups in the world.
Experts fear the new coronavirus could spread rapidly among peoples with lesser resistance even to already common diseases and limited access to health care, potentially wiping out some smaller groups.
In the United States alone, there were over 3.6 million confirmed cases, 139,000 deaths and 1.1 million recoveries.
Multiple areas within the United States have been experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. From July 10 to 16, the new daily confirmed case count ranged from 58,858 to 72,045, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The seven-day average of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. was 64,154 on July 16, surpassing the total case counts for many developed nations across the world.
The issue of surging cases has prompted leaders and health professionals to raise concerns over lack of hospital capacity to treat patients.
In Florida, Miami-Dade County reached 118.91% of its ICU bed capacity on July 17. Some health experts have dubbed the area as the new epicenter of the pandemic in the United States. Florida has posted record-breaking new COVID-19 case numbers in recent days.
Coinciding with the surges are ongoing debates and concerns over if and how children should return to school in the fall. Questions still linger as to how much children can contribute to the spread of the novel coronavirus, as well as the risk as to which they may contract the virus themselves.
Millions more children in the U.S. learned Friday that they're unlikely to return to classrooms full time in the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic as death tolls reached new highs.
It came as many states — particularly in the Sunbelt — struggled to cope with the surge and governments worldwide tried to control fresh outbreaks. In a sign of how the virus is galloping around the globe, the World Health Organization reported nearly a quarter-million new infections in a single day.
On July 13, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus offered stark reminders of scenarios that may unfold if leaders and citizens do not do their part.
“Every single leader, every single government and every single person can do their bit to break chains of transmission and end the collective suffering,” the director-general said. “There are no shortcuts out of this pandemic. We all hope there will be an effective vaccine, but we need to focus on using the tools we have now to suppress transmission and save lives.“
The Associated Press contributed to this report.