World

One dead every 15 seconds as coronavirus deaths exceed 700,000

GENEVA: One person dies every 15 seconds from Covid-19, with the global death toll surpassing 700,000 yesterday.

That equates to 247 people per hour and nearly 5,900 people every 24 hours on average, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the past two weeks.

The United States, Brazil, India and Mexico are leading the rise in fatalities.

The US, home to around 330 million people, has been battered by the virus despite being one of the richest nations in the world.

The US government's top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, on Monday said states with high coronavirus case counts should reconsider imposing lockdown restrictions, emphasising the need to get cases to a low baseline before the flu season begins.

President Donald Trump however said the outbreak is as under control as it can get in the US, where more than 155,000 people have died amid a patchy response to the public health crisis that has failed to stem a rise in cases.

"They are dying, that's true," Mr Trump said in an interview with the Axios news website.

"It is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague."

In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro has minimised the gravity of the pandemic and opposed lockdown measures, even as he and several of his cabinet tested positive for the virus.

The pandemic was initially slower to reach Latin America, which is home to about 640 million people, than much of the world. But officials have since struggled to control its spread because of the region's poverty and densely packed cities.

More than 100 million people across Latin America and the Caribbean live in slums, according to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme.

Many have jobs in the informal sector with little in the way of a social safety net and have continued to work throughout the pandemic.

Even in parts of the world that had appeared to have curbed the spread of the virus, countries have recently seen single-day records in new cases, signalling the battle is far from over.

Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Bolivia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Belgium, Uzbekistan and Israel all recently had record increases in cases. - REUTERS

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