Con­firmed worldwide virus cases hit 10M

New York Daily News - - NEWS -

Worldwide con­firmed coro­n­avirus in­fec­tions hit the 10 mil­lion mark Sunday as vot­ers in Poland and France went to the polls for virus-de­layed elec­tions.

New clus­ters of cases at a Swiss night­club and in the cen­tral English city of Leices­ter showed that the virus was still cir­cu­lat­ing widely in Europe, though not with the rapidly grow­ing in­fec­tion rate seen in parts of the U.S., Latin Amer­ica and In­dia.

Wear­ing manda­tory masks, so­cial dis­tanc­ing in lines and car­ry­ing their own pens to sign vot­ing reg­is­ters, French vot­ers cast bal­lots in a sec­ond round of mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions. Poles also wore masks and used hand san­i­tizer, and some in virus-hit ar­eas were told to mail in their bal­lots to avoid fur­ther con­ta­gion.

“I didn’t go and vote the first time around be­cause I am elderly and I got scared,” said Fanny Barouh as she voted in a Paris school.

While con­cern in the U.S. has fo­cused on big states like Texas, Ari­zona and Florida re­port­ing thou­sands of new cases a day, ru­ral states are also see­ing in­fec­tion surges, in­clud­ing in Kansas.

The U.S. han­dling of the out­break has drawn con­cern from abroad. The Euro­pean Union seems al­most cer­tain to bar Amer­i­cans from trav­el­ing to the bloc in the short term as it draws up new travel rules to be an­nounced shortly.

The in­fec­tion surges prompted Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence to call off cam­paign events in Florida and Ari­zona, al­though he will still travel to those states and to Texas this week to meet with their Repub­li­can gov­er­nors. Those three gov­er­nors have come un­der crit­i­cism for ag­gres­sively re­open­ing their economies after virus lock­downs de­spite in­creas­ing in­fec­tions in their states.

After con­firmed daily in­fec­tions in the U.S. hit an high of 40,000 on Fri­day, Texas and Florida re­versed course and closed down bars in their states again. Ari­zona Repub­li­can Gov. Doug Ducey re­versed him­self and al­lowed cities and coun­ties to re­quire face masks in pub­lic even though he hasn’t been seen wear­ing one.

“This is not a sprint, this is a marathon,” said Dr. Lisa Gold­berg, di­rec­tor of the emer­gency de­part­ment of Tuc­son Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Ari­zona. “In fact, it’s an ul­tra­ma­rathon.”

U.S. Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Sec­re­tary Alex Azar stressed that “the win­dow is clos­ing” for the U.S. to take ac­tion to ef­fec­tively curb the coro­n­avirus.

Azar pointed to a re­cent spike in in­fec­tions, par­tic­u­larly in the South. He says peo­ple have “to act re­spon­si­bly” by so­cial dis­tanc­ing and wear­ing face masks, es­pe­cially “in th­ese hot zones.”

Speak­ing on NBC and CNN, Azar ar­gued that the U.S. is in a bet­ter po­si­tion than two months ago in fight­ing the virus be­cause it is con­duct­ing more test­ing and has ther­a­peu­tics avail­able to treat COVID-19.

But he ac­knowl­edged that hos­pi­tal­iza­tions and deaths could in­crease in the next few weeks.

Glob­ally, con­firmed COVID-19 cases passed the 10 mil­lion mark and con­firmed deaths neared half a mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to a tally by the Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity, with the U.S., Brazil, Rus­sia and In­dia hav­ing the most cases. The U.S. also has the high­est virus death toll in the world at over 125,000.

Ex­perts say all those fig­ures sig­nif­i­cantly un­der­count the true toll of the pan­demic, due to lim­ited test­ing and missed mild cases. U.S. gov­ern­ment ex­perts last week es­ti­mated the U.S. alone could have had 20 mil­lion cases.

Work­place in­fec­tion wor­ries in­creased after Tyson Foods an­nounced that 371 em­ploy­ees at its chicken pro­cess­ing plant in the south­west­ern cor­ner of Mis­souri have tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19.

Bri­tain’s gov­ern­ment, mean­while, is con­sid­er­ing whether a lo­cal lock­down is needed for the cen­tral English city of Leices­ter amid re­ports about a spike in COVID-19 among its Asian com­mu­nity. It would be Bri­tain’s first lo­cal lock­down.

Pol­ish vot­ers were cast­ing bal­lots, in per­son and by mail, for a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion that was sup­posed to have taken place in May but was chaot­i­cally post­poned amid the pan­demic. Pres­i­dent An­drzej Duda, a 48-yearold con­ser­va­tive backed by the na­tion­al­ist rul­ing Law and Jus­tice party, was run­ning against 10 other can­di­dates as he seeks a sec­ond five-year term.

French vot­ers were choos­ing may­ors and mu­nic­i­pal coun­cilors in Paris and 5,000 towns and cities in a sec­ond round of mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions held un­der strict hy­giene rules. Key bat­tle­grounds in­clude Paris, where the next mayor will pre­side over the 2024 Sum­mer Olympics.

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