The Dallas Morning News

Global virus cases nearly double

WHO says recent rise approaches ‘highest rate of infection’

- By ERIN CUNNINGHAM and SIOBHÁN O’GRADY

The number of new coronaviru­s cases around the globe has almost doubled over the past two months, an increase that the World Health Organizati­on said Friday was nearing the pandemic’s peak infection rate.

Around the world, “COVID-19 cases and deaths are continuing to increase at worrying rates,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu­s said at a briefing Friday.

“This is approachin­g the highest rate of infection that we have seen so far during the pandemic,” he said. “Some countries that had previously avoided widespread COVID-19 transmissi­on are now seeing steep increases in infections.”

Case numbers have spiked in nearly all regions, with larger outbreaks gripping Brazil, India, Poland, Turkey and some other countries. In the seven days ending April 11, global cases rose by 11% compared to the previous week, according to the WHO.

Some of those infections were due to the spread of new variants, while other surges came as pandemic fatigue set in and authoritie­s moved to relax restrictio­ns. The rise in cases comes as vaccine rollouts continue globally, with some countries hoping to counteract the surge with inoculatio­ns and others facing

serious vaccine shortages that could make such efforts impossible.

Indian officials said Thursday that more than 200,000 new cases had been confirmed in the previous 24 hours.

In Mumbai, authoritie­s implemente­d a strict set of temporary rules this week, closing most businesses. The case count in India is significan­tly higher than it was during the country’s last devastatin­g surge in September. Many

measures were relaxed last year as cases started to dwindle. But cases began to steadily increase earlier this year, and the latest case levels are wreaking havoc on the country’s health system.

Home to 1.4 billion people,

India is a crucial global supplier of vaccines, but health workers in some parts of the country say there is now a shortage at home. Thus far, more than 110 million doses have been administer­ed in the country.

In Brazil, where more than 13.7 million cases have been confirmed since last year, doctors were urgently requesting supplies this week as they faced a shortage of sedatives critical to the intubation process for severely ill patients.

More than 365,000 people have died after falling sick in Brazil, where a highly contagious variant is spreading quickly and overwhelmi­ng the health system. Doctors Without Borders has called the situation as a “humanitari­an catastroph­e,” driven by what the organizati­on described as the government’s inadequate, politicize­d response to the crisis.

Turkey confirmed record single-day case numbers this week, with the number of new cases confirmed in a 24-hour period surpassing 60,000. On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced new partial lockdown measures that coincide with the first weeks of the holy month of Ramadan.

Meanwhile, Poland’s health minister told a radio program Friday that the country is experienci­ng a “downward” trend in cases after reporting around 35,000 cases in a single day earlier this month. The country implemente­d serious restrictio­ns last month, shutting down many businesses.

 ?? Manish Swarup/the Associated Press ?? Health workers collected swab samples to test for COVID-19 in New Delhi on Friday. Indian officials said Thursday that more than 200,000 new cases had been confirmed in the previous 24 hours.
Manish Swarup/the Associated Press Health workers collected swab samples to test for COVID-19 in New Delhi on Friday. Indian officials said Thursday that more than 200,000 new cases had been confirmed in the previous 24 hours.

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