NEW YORK, May 21 – Global coronavirus cases surpassed 5 million on Wednesday, with Latin America overtaking the United States and Europe last week to report the largest share of new daily cases worldwide.
It represents a new phase in the spread of the virus, which initially peaked in China in February, before large-scale epidemics followed in Europe and the United States.
Latin America accounted for about a third of the 91,000 cases reported earlier this week. Europe and the United States each accounted for just over 20%.
Many of these new cases originated in Brazil, which recently overtook Germany, France and the United Kingdom to become the third largest epidemic in the world, behind the United States and Russia.
Cases in Brazil are now increasing at a daily rate, just behind the United States.
The first 41 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Wuhan, China, on January 10, and it took the world until April 1 to reach its first million cases. Since then, around 1 million new cases have been reported every two weeks, according to a Reuters count.
With more than 5 million cases, the virus has infected more people in less than six months than the annual total of cases of severe flu, which the World Health Organization estimates about 3 to 5 million worldwide.
The pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 326,000 people, but the actual number is believed to be higher as tests are still limited and many countries do not include deaths outside of hospitals. More than half of the total deaths have been recorded in Europe.
Despite the continued increase in cases, many countries are opening schools and workplaces after weeks of foreclosure that have stemmed the spread.
Financial markets were also slightly boosted by the first promising results from the first US human vaccine trial. – Reuters