Coronavirus: What's happening around the world on Tuesday
Worldwide virus cases doubled to 20 million in only 6 weeks
- Mexico sees near-record 926 newly confirmed deaths.
- Ontario reports fewest new COVID-19 cases since mid-March.
- Saskatchewan leaving it up to school boards to decide on masking.
- B.C. shifting to phased-in school restart with teachers returning to class first.
- Georgia school district quarantines more than 800 students due to possible coronavirus exposure.
- Lebanon registers new record of coronavirus cases and deaths.
- Global total passes 20 million confirmed cases of coronavirus.
- Russia declares vaccine ready for use despite international skepticism.
- New Zealand reports new cases of coronavirus, ending 102 days of no community transmission.
It took six months for the world to reach 10 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus. It took just over six weeks for that number to double.
The worldwide count of known COVID-19 infections climbed past 20 million on Monday, with more than half of them from just three countries: the U.S., India and Brazil, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
The average number of new cases per day in the U.S. has declined in recent weeks but is still running high at over 54,000, versus almost 59,000 in India and nearly 44,000 in Brazil.
The severe and sustained crisis in the U.S. — over five million cases and 163,000 deaths, easily the highest totals of any country — has dismayed and surprised many around the world, given the nation's vaunted scientific ingenuity and the head start it had over Europe and Asia to prepare.
With about four per cent of the world's population, the U.S. accounts for about 25 per cent of known coronavirus infections and 22 per cent of the deaths.
South Africa, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Russia and the Philippines round out the list of the top 10 countries contributing the most new cases to the global tally since July 22, according to an Associated Press analysis of Johns Hopkins data through Monday.
The real number of people infected by the virus around the world is believed to be much higher — perhaps 10 times higher in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — given testing limitations and the many mild cases that have gone unreported or unrecognized.
Some of the worst-hit nations have been those whose leaders have downplayed the severity of COVID-19, undercut the advice of health experts and pushed unproven remedies.
WATCH | U.S. surgeon general pleads for mask use amid rising concerns about COVID-19 in schools:
U.S. President Donald Trump, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, for example, all rarely wear masks and have resisted calls for strict lockdowns.
Trump and Bolsonaro have promoted the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, even though studies have shown it to be useless against the virus, with potentially deadly side effects.
In the U.S., Mexico and Brazil, testing has been criticized as inadequate. While the U.S. has ramped up testing in recent months, Americans have faced discouragingly long lines for tests and delays in getting results. In Mexico, 47 per cent of tests are coming back positive, suggesting that only seriously ill people are being screened.
Contact tracing, which has helped authorities in other countries get a handle on the spread, has also been criticized as insufficient in all three countries.
In Venezuela, cases have begun to rise significantly in the capital Caracas, perhaps one of the world's least-prepared cities to face the pandemic.
The country has been under a lockdown since March, but limited testing, open defiance of quarantine measures and the return of tens of thousands of Venezuelan migrants from countries with higher caseloads have resulted in a steady expansion that is starting to overwhelm hospitals with scarce supplies.
"What has been successful in other countries is massive testing and isolating the population that is sick," said Domingo Subero, 66, an engineer worried about the situation in Caracas. "Here, neither of those two things is happening."
WATCH | Russia's vaccine trials had little transparency, says infectious disease specialist:
In other developments, Russia on Tuesday became the first country to officially register a coronavirus vaccine and declare it ready for use, despite skepticism from the international scientific community. President Vladimir Putin said one of his daughters has already been inoculated.
Putin emphasized that the vaccine underwent the necessary tests and has proven efficient, offering a lasting immunity from the coronavirus. However, scientists at home and abroad have been sounding the alarm that the rush to start using the vaccine before Phase 3 trials — which normally last for months and involve thousands of people — could backfire.
What's happening with coronavirus in Canada
As of 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 120,421 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 106,746 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 9,030.
Ontario reported an additional 33 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the fewest on a single day in the province since March 19.
Health Minister Christine Elliott noted that 21 cases that had been reported by Toronto Public Health already on previous days were removed from Tuesday's update before it was released.
Premier Doug Ford said the numbers were "impressive" but "we can't take our eye off the ball for a second."
Saskatchewan's Ministry of Education outlined what mandatory masking in the province's schools would look like Tuesday, but did not require that step, leaving it up to individual school boards to decide.
Education Minister Gord Wyant said while decisions to enact masking policies would rest with school boards, they would need to consult public health officials.
Wyant also confirmed the government has required schools to cohort elementary students into smaller groups.
WATCH | Dr. Tam says she has confidence in Canadian regulatory system on vaccines:
In British Columbia, the provincial government is indicating the initial return to school this fall will see only staff in the classroom, so teachers can sort out logistics before students return.
It follows two straight days of mounting criticism during question period in the legislature, with both the B.C. Green Party and B.C. Liberals demanding more certainty on the school restart plan.
"If it takes some extra time and builds additional confidence and fulfills the guidelines that have been developed by Dr. Bonnie Henry and her team, that's what we're going to do," Education Minister Rob Fleming said.
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- Transport Canada says if you can't wear a mask for medical reasons, prove it — or don't fly
Here's what's happening around the world
According to Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases is now more than 20.1 million. More than 738,000 people have died, while 12.4 million have recovered.
Mexico reported a near-record 926 newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, bringing the country's accumulated total to 53,929.
The Health Department reported 6,686 new coronavirus infections, bringing the country's total confirmed cases so far to 492,522.
At that rate Mexico will reach a half million confirmed cases soon, but given the extremely low rate of testing — less than 1.1 million tests in a country of almost 130 million inhabitants — the number would likely be a vast undercount. For the most part, only people with considerable symptoms are tested in Mexico.
In the United States, a Georgia school district has quarantined more than 800 students because of possible exposure to the coronavirus since it resumed in-person teaching last week.
Data updated Tuesday by the Cherokee County School District outside Atlanta also shows it has quarantined 42 staff members since the start of the year on Aug. 3. The district serves more than 42,000 students.
Supt. Brian Hightower also said the district was temporarily shutting down Etowah High School, where a widely shared photo showed dozens of maskless students posing together, starting Wednesday and hoped to reopen the school on Aug. 31.
Other Atlanta-area school districts scrapped in-person learning amid a spike in cases of COVID-19 in Georgia.
Lebanon has registered a new record of coronavirus cases and deaths as the number of patients increase in the country that had a deadly explosion last week.
WATCH | Lebanese doctor on trying to save explosion's victims amid pandemic:
Cases in Lebanon have been increasing since early July when Beirut's international airport was re-opened and a lockdown was eased.
The health ministry on Tuesday say 307 people tested positive, raising the total registered cases to 7,121 since the first case was reported in late February. The ministry reported seven new deaths, raising the confirmed total to 87.
Dr. Firas Abiad, director general of Rafik Hariri University Hospital, told The Associated Press last week that the number of cases is expected to rise in the coming days following the Aug. 4, explosion that killed and wounded thousands of people. He says crowding in hospitals, where thousands of wounded were rushed, would raise the numbers.
The regional government in Spain's Canary Islands says more than 85 per cent of new coronavirus infections detected during the past week were among people under 30 years old.
Regional health chief Blas Trujillo says the new COVID-19 cases resulted from leisure time and family get-togethers without social distancing.
He says the constant appearance of new cases — 85 in the previous 24 hours — could bring a return to an economically damaging lockdown.
WATCH | Coronavirus pops up again in New Zealand:
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Tuesday that authorities have found four cases of the coronavirus in one Auckland household from an unknown source, the first cases of local transmission in the country in 102 days.
Ardern said Auckland, the nation's largest city, will be moved to Level 3 from midday Wednesday, meaning that people will be asked to stay at home and bars and many other businesses will be closed.
She said the rest of the country will be raised to Level 2.
Singapore on Tuesday reported 61 new coronavirus cases, its lowest daily count in more than four months.
The city-state went into a lockdown in mid-April after mass outbreaks in cramped migrant worker dormitories pushed its caseload to one of the highest in Asia.
Last week, it said it had cleared infections from all of the dormitories, which house around 300,000 workers, barring some blocks that continue to serve as isolation zones.
The number of new community infections reported in China fell to just 13 on Tuesday, while the semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong saw a further decline to 69 new cases.
The mainland also saw 31 new cases brought by Chinese travellers from abroad arriving in eight different provinces and cities. China requires testing and a two-week quarantine for all new arrivals and has barred most foreigners from entering the country.
All new locally transmitted cases were in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, whose main city, Urumqi, has been at the centre of the country's latest outbreak.
Hong Kong has seen its daily number of new cases decrease since its latest outbreak last month, partly by mandating mask wearing in public settings and stepping up physical distancing requirements. The region has reported 4,148 total cases and 55 deaths.
India's ability to rein in a surging coronavirus outbreak hinges on its 10 most populous states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday, urging regional leaders to ramp up testing and contact tracing.
India has more than 2.2 million confirmed coronavirus infections, the third-highest tally after the U.S. and Brazil.
"If we can defeat corona in these 10 states, the country will win," Modi said in a video conference with state chief ministers.
The 10 states accounted for 80 per cent of its 639,929 active cases and 82 per cent of its 45,257 deaths, Modi said.
With files from Reuters and CBC News