Coronavirus surging on Western Hemisphere with 49% of fatalities, 5 nations in top 10

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June 6 (UPI) — Coronavirus deaths are in surging on the Western Hemisphere, the side of the globe that comprises nearly 48.6% of the fatalities and five nations in the top 10 with the most fatalities despite only 12.7% of the world’s population.

Worldwide, the pandemic is diminishing with a weekly 12% decrease in deaths and 16% in cases. And COVID-19 is no longer as intensive in India as cases increased Sunday by 114,460 compared with a record 414,188 on May 8 and 2,6677 deaths, down from a record 4,529, also in May. India is third in the world for deaths at 346,759 and second in cases at 28,809,339.

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By the end of Sunday, the pandemic has caused the deaths of 3,743,790 people, including 917,021 in South America and 902,544 in North America, according to Worldometers.info. The hemisphere had an increase of nearly 70 million, for 40.7% of the total 173,799,395.

In North America, the United States leads the world with 597,6281 deaths, as well as 33,362,535 cases, according to Johns Hopkins tracking. Mexico is fourth in the world with 228,754 deaths and 2,432,280 cases, which is 15th.

In South America, Brazil ranked No. 2 worldwide for most fatalities with 473,495, including 1,661 Saturday and 866 Sunday and third in infections with 16,947,062, including 39,637 most recently. In the past week, Peru moved to fifth in the world with 186,511 deaths but around 110,000 were added last week that were reclassified in a change of criteria from only testing positive for a coronavirus test, which numbers only 13.1 million. The testing rate is only 393,220 per million compared with 1,461,188 in the United States and 232,951 in Brazil.

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Peru’s cases are 1,983,570, which is 17th in the world, including 4,255 Saturday and 3,179 Sunday.

Three other South American nations are in the top 20 worldwide for most deaths. No. 10 Colombia has 91,961, including 532 Saturday, which was third in the world behind India and Brazil. Argentina’s 456 was fourth with the total 13th at 80,867. Last week Peru was 15th.

Also in South America, Chile is 23rd with 29,816, including 120 Saturday.

In the past week, South America’s deaths decreased by 4%, not counting the revision in Peru, and cases rose by 4%. In North America, fatalities dropped 14% and infections 23%.

Peru now has the worst per-capita death rate in the world with 5,572 per million, compared with 1,840 in the United States, 2,209 in Brazil, 249 in India.

On Sunday, Peru is conducting a presidential run-off election between leftist Pedro Castillo and right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori.

Godofredo Talavera, the president of the Peruvian Medical Federation, said he was not surprised about the increased toll.

“We believe this occurs because our health system does not have the necessary conditions to care for patients,” he said. “There has been no government support with oxygen, with intensive care beds. We do not have enough vaccines at the moment. The first line of care has not been reactivated. All this makes us the first country in the world in mortality.”

Peru has only vaccinated 9% of its 33.4 million population with at least one dose.

A total of 2.09 billion shots in the world have been given in a population of 7.9 billion with a two-dose regimen required for most brands.

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North America leads with 63 doses administered per 100 people, followed by Europe at 51, South America at 29, Asia at 25, Oceania at 14 and Africa at 2.5, according to tracking by The New York Times.

The United States has administered at least one dose to 51.3% of its population with Brazil at 22.8%, according to tracking by Bloomberg. Britain, which inoculated the first person in the world in December, is among the best in the world with 60.1%.

Chile has the best vaccination rate on the continent at 58.3% with Argentina at 23.9%, Colombia at 15.1%.

In North America, vaccination rates are much different in the two U.S. neighbors. Mexico is at 18.6%, though it was the first Latin American nation to begin vaccinating people. And Canada has risen to 57.5% and leading the United States by 6.2 percentage points after lagging by several points for months.

In the past week, the United States’ deaths decreased 28% and cases 35%. In Mexico, it was a 61% gain in deaths, including 186 Sunday, and 30% cases with 2,649. Canada’s deaths decreased 15%, with 33 Saturday and 12 Sunday, and cases were down 31%, including 1,666 Saturday and 1,389 Sunday.

Deaths are way down in Mexico from a one-day record of 1,803 in Mexico.

But three states, Baja California Sur, Yucatán and Tabasco, increased to high-risk orange on the updated coronavirus map presented by the federal Health Ministry on Friday night. Quintana Roo is already orange. Six advanced to low-risk green.

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Mexican officials said Friday they will use 1 million U.S. doses of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to inoculate people along the border.

Along with the one-dose Johnson & Johnson, the other top vaccine makers are Moderna and Pfizer, which require two shots.

Canada has reported under triple digits for deaths since 142 on Feb. 3 and a record 257 on Dec. 29 for a total of 25,724.

Canada has been easing out of restrictions.

The nonessential travel ban among Mexico, Canada and the United States has been extended through June 21. It began one year ago in March.

In Asia, deaths decreased 17% and cases 25%. The continent has the most cases at 52,449,048 and is third in deaths at 711,470

The Indian western state of Maharashtra, which includes 114.2 million people, has been hard-hit by the pandemic with plans to ease restrictions Monday after they were put in place in April amid a second wave.

Maharashtra reported 13,659 cases Saturday, which is the lowest in two months, and deaths rose by 866.

India is a dominant manufacturer of vaccines worldwide, but the nation has inoculated only 13.5% of its population with at least one dose and 3.4% fully vaccinated.

The pandemic outbreak began in late 2019 in Mainland China, but the nation with the world’s largest population of 1.5 billion has reported only a few deaths in the past 12 months and stands in 61st at 4,636 behind Georgia with 4,910. China added 30 cases Sunday and had administered 744 million doses, the most in the world.

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The United States will give Taiwan 750,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, said U.S. senators who visited the island said Sunday. Taiwan has administered nearly 43,000 doses daily.

The total confirmed cases were 11,298, including 260 deaths.

Iran has the second-most deaths in Asia in 12th at 81,063 with 122 reported Sunday.

Turkey ranks fifth in the world for cases at 5,287,980 with 5,386 Sunday and 19th in deaths at 48,164, including 96 most recently.

In the Far East, Indonesia has the most deaths, 51,612 in 17th place with 163 reported Sunday.

Japan is 36th with 13,598 deaths, including 50 on Sunday with a record 216 three weeks ago. Cases are 2,022 with the record 7,882.

Only 9.2% of the population has received at least one dose.

Tokyo, Osaka and seven other prefectures are in a state of emergency through June 20, a little more than one month before the Summer Olympics are scheduled to start in the nation.

About 10,000 of the 80,000 registered volunteers for the athletic events had quit as of Wednesday, according to Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee officials. No foreign spectators are allowed into Japan for the Games but a group of United States public health experts warned athletes and the public are at risk.

“We believe the IOC’s determination to proceed with the Olympic Games is not informed by the best scientific evidence,” the authors wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine. “For us to connect safely, we believe urgent action is needed for these Olympic Games to proceed.”

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Also, the U.S. State Department is warning U.S. citizens against traveling to Japan.

International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told CNN “none of the folks involved in the planning and the execution of the Games is considering a cancellation.”

South Korea has vaccinated 14.4% of its population. The nation has 1,973 deaths, including two more Sunday, and 144,152 cases, with a rise of 556 on Sunday. The record is 40 deaths and 1,241 cases.

South Korea’s restrictions are set to expire on June 13. People who have received at least one COVID-19 shot will be able to go outdoors mask-free starting in July.

Israel, which is considered part of Asia, has fully vaccinated 60.3% of its population, among the best in the world. Its death toll is 6,418, rising by seven in one week.

Europe has posted the most deaths of the continents, 1,078,823, and cases are second, 46,888,987.

Four European nations are in the top 10 for most deaths: Britain sixth behind Peru with 127,840, Italy seventh with 126,523, Russia eighth with 123,787 and France ninth with 109,998. Germany dropped to 11th in the past week with 89,851, Spain 14th with 80,196, Poland 15th at 74,152 and Ukraine 18th at 51,182.

Of those countries, only Britain has vaccinated at least half its population. Germany is at 45.5%, France 42.9%, Italy 42.3%, Spain 41%, Poland 37.9, Russia 12.3% and Ukraine 3.2%.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson posted on Twitter at this week’s G-7 meeting in Cornwall on the southwest coast of Britain that he will push for global vaccine distribution.

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“I will ask my fellow leaders to help vaccinate the world by the end of next year. We have a responsibility to do everything we can to defeat COVID around the world,” he said.

On Sunday, Britain reported four deaths and 5,341 cases after 5,765 Saturday and 6,238 Friday, highest since mid-March. Italy gained 51 deaths and 2,275 cases, Russia 351 deaths and 9,163 cases Sunday, France 25 deaths and 5,070 and Germany 26 deaths and 1,845 cases.

Britain’s totals are way down from the daily deaths record of 2,396 and cases of 68,053.

The spike could delay plans to end the lockdown, including all social distancing on June 21, especially in light of the variant that originated in India.

“Balancing, clearly, people’s desire — and there clearly is a built-up desire to get back to normal — against the potential risk is a very difficult judgment call,” Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist from Imperial College London whose modeling was key to the first lockdown in March 2020, told the BBC on Friday. “It’s not my job to make that decision, thankfully.”

The British government has most nations on a COVID-safe travel list, including adding Portugal last week. On an “amber list” are several countries, including the United States, Canada and most European nations, in which travelers must complete a 10-day quarantine at home.

Banned on the red lists are countries that include India, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Egypt.

The European Union agreed to reopen its borders to fully vaccinated travelers, including those from the United States. Visitors who have received EU-approved vaccines will be allowed to enter EU countries without a test or quarantine upon arrival.

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Member states will be allowed to set their own requirements.

Italy and Spain have already loosened their travel restrictions, according to Forbes. France plans to open Monday for international travel with Germany later this month.

Oceania, with only 42.3 million people, has 1,254 deaths and 69,365 cases.

New Zealand’s deaths remain at 26 with the last one reported on Feb. 16 and Australia’s toll stayed at 910 with one reported April 13.

New Zealand reported no cases Sunday, tallying 10 in one week, for a total of 2,682, and Australia was up 17, which is 79 in a week, for 30,175 total.

Australia has vaccinated 17% of its population, according to The New York Times tracking. New Zealand has administered first doses to 6.8% of its population.

The Australian state of Victoria with a population of 7 million, including Melbourne, has been in lockdown. Two locally transmitted cases, a resident and a nurse were found in an aged care, which was also the site of the latest outbreak.

Africa has reported 132,663 deaths and 4,964,834 cases. In one week, it’s a 0.2% increase of deaths and 15% gain in cases.

“The threat of a third wave in Africa is real and rising,” Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization regional director for Africa, said in a statement. “It’s crucial that we swiftly get vaccines into the arms of Africans at high risk of falling seriously ill and dying of COVID-19.”

Moeti noted the pandemic is trending upwards in 14 countries and in the past week alone, eight countries witnessed an abrupt rise of over 30% in cases.

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South Africa leads the continent with 56,974 deaths, including 91 Saturday and 45 Sunday and 5,073 cases despite a more contagious strain originating there. Egypt is second with 15,352 and Tunisia third with 12,980.

Around 31.4 million doses have been administered to the African population of 1.2 billion.

“Many African hospitals and clinics are still far from ready to cope with a huge rise in critically ill patients. We must better equip our hospitals and medical staff to avert the worst effects of a runaway surge,” Moeti said. “Treatment is the last line of defense against this virus and we cannot let it be breached.”