Global COVID-19 Infections Reach 10 Million Mark

The news about the coronavirus appears to get darker every day, and top scientists are cautioning people not to be overly optimistic that a vaccine is imminent.

The number of global cases has passed 10 million and the number of deaths has passed 500,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.  

The World Health Organization says the number of new cases set another daily record Sunday – 189,000 — led by Brazil’s 47,000 cases in a 24-hour period.

Many health experts say the actual number of cases around the word may be much more than the reported numbers, suspecting some countries of underreporting their COVID-19 statistics.

As many as 15 governments and medical laboratories are making a serious effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine with the first widespread trials expected to begin next month in the United States.

British researchers have said they plan to test a vaccine in Brazil in August.

The top U.S. infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has said a vaccine could be available as soon as the end of the year. But he says while he is optimistic, he told The Associated Press, “We’ve been burned before. This isn’t a race of who gets there first. This is, get as many approved, safe and effective vaccines as you possibly can.”

Fauci added that researchers are going to have to be flexible enough to test vaccines in multiple sites and be ready to move as the virus moves.  

“Nothing is going to be easy,” he said.  

A vaccine can take decades before it is proved to be safe and effective, and some medical experts say many companies will not even consider developing a treatment for a disease unless it can make a profit.

A global vaccine fundraising event that featured entertainers Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Usher, among others, raised nearly $7 billion in pledges from the EU, United States, and elsewhere Saturday.  

The money is aimed at ensuring a vaccine is available to everyone when it is ready.

“If and when an effective vaccine is found, then we as world leaders have moral duty to ensure that it is truly available to all,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

He was joined by French President Emmanuel Macron who said, “Let’s refuse an every-man-for-himself approach, let’s continue to move forward together.” 

In the United States, which leads the world in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths, some states are setting daily records.

Some of these states, especially in the West and South, are finding themselves having to reimpose lockdowns and social distancing rules after easing them in the past weeks.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced Sunday that he is again closing beaches in his state, blaming young people who are balking at wearing masks and practicing social distancing for driving the surge in new cases.

State officials have also put the brakes on alcohol consumption at bars because of what DeSantis calls “widespread noncompliance.”

“It has invariably been because they packed so many people in and created a type of environment that we are trying to avoid. Caution was thrown to the wind and so we are where we are,” the governor said.  

The governors of Texas and California have also closed many bars, with Texas’ Greg Abbott saying “COVID-19 has taken a very swift and very dangerous turn in Texas over just the past few weeks.”

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom closed bars in seven counties that had reopened and urged those in eight more counties to close also.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has suspended the fourth phase of his state’s reopening plans. The northwestern U.S. state reported 3,180 new cases in the last week, a figure approaching what the state saw during the height of the outbreak in March.  

In South Africa, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has warned hospitals that they could be pushed to their limits because of a jump in new cases after many offices, factories and stores have reopened.  

Workers at six Amazon warehouses in Germany say they will go on strike Monday because of concerns over employees testing positive for COVID-19.  

A representative for the Amazon employees labor union says as many as 40 have been infected and accuses the company of putting profits ahead of safety.  

Amazon denies the allegation and says it has invested billions to protect its workers all over the world.

Germany is Amazon’s biggest market after the United States. 

Source: Voice of America

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