Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


In Many Countries The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Accelerating, Not Slowing

In many countries the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating, not slowing

Adam Kamradt-Scott, University of Sydney

Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating. While some countries such as Australia and New Zealand have managed to flatten the curve, in many other parts of the world the number of cases has continued to reach new highs.

On Sunday, the World Health Organization (WHO) recorded 183,000 new cases — the single largest number of new cases reported in one day. Over the past week, there have been more than 150,000 new cases per day on three separate days.

The numbers of new infections are now growing at such a rate that while it took some three months to reach the first 1 million cases, the last million cases was reached in just eight days. The total number of COVID-19 infections now exceeds 9 million worldwide.

Even more tragically, the deaths from COVID-19 are also growing. The United States has recorded more than 120,000 fatalities, while Brazil has exceeded 51,000 deaths related to COVID-19. The situation has become so dire that Latin America’s largest country is reporting an average of 1,000 deaths every day.

The world is divided

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that the world is dangerously divided. He has cautioned against the ongoing politicisation of the pandemic and called for solidarity and leadership, noting that countries should not have to choose “between lives and livelihoods. Countries can do both”.

These warnings are likely to go unheeded, if recent developments are anything to go by. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, who has railed against “job-killing” social distancing measures, appears unrepentant for firing his health minister even as he confronts escalating numbers of infections and an economic downturn in which Brazil’s economy is expected to shrink by 6.2%.

In the United States, President Donald Trump reportedly joked his country should slow down testing because public health authorities were identifying too many COVID-19 cases. Trump made his remarks even as news emerged that more than two dozen public health officials across the US have been either fired, resigned or retired due to threats of physical violence, intimidation or persecution.

The threat is far from over

In many parts of the world, the pandemic is only starting to make its presence felt. Indonesia has seen an alarming increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases, with more than 1,000 new cases per day on eight of the past ten days, despite very low rates of testing.

Likewise, India, which yesterday morning recorded 14,000 new cases for the previous 24 hours, has now risen to become the fourth worst-affected country in the world. Officially, India has documented just over 440,000 cases and 14,000 deaths, but these numbers are generally believed to be significantly under-reported.

More disturbingly, even those countries that showed initial signs of recovery are continuing to struggle with the virus. South Korea, which has been regarded for months as a poster child of an efficient COVID-19 response, has now entered a “second wave”, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). The CDC said the new cases were driven by the May holiday period, when coronavirus guidelines were relaxed, and particularly by young people via nightclubs and bars.

Fears of a second wave have also emerged in Iran, while China is now dealing with more than 200 new cases following an outbreak in Beijing.

Data visualisation: Kaho Cheung Data source: Our World in Data New deaths, cases and tests refers to new daily confirmed deaths, cases and tests. Countries with a population under 1 million not shown.

There is still hope

Despite the dire global situation, there are a handful of places that have demonstrated it’s possible to suppress the virus’ transmission (at least for now). New Zealand recorded just two new cases on Monday, despite dropping almost all its coronavirus restrictions after reaching zero active cases two weeks ago. All nine of its active cases are returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

Several Pacific Island states, including Fiji, Somoa, Tonga and Vanuatu, have maintained zero active cases.

And outside of ongoing community transmission in parts of Melbourne, Australia overall has continued to record very few new cases despite restrictions easing across most of the country. Tasmania, the Northern Territory, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory all have zero active cases.

Read more:
Victoria's coronavirus hotspots: not quite a second wave, but still cause for concern

What remains abundantly clear is that testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine, and community engagement are essential to halting the spread of COVID-19 across the world. Importantly, though, all of these measures depend on leadership and a shared sense of vulnerability. We need to marshal that, putting aside our differences and coming together to defeat a common foe. And we need to do it now.

This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.The Conversation

Adam Kamradt-Scott, Associate professor, University of Sydney

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Media Collusion With National’s Attack Lines

For most of the past week, any consumer of this country’s management of Covid-19 would think New Zealand was actually Brazil, or Texas. The media language has been full of claims of “botches” at the border, and laxness and inexcusable errors ... More>>

Gregor Thompson: Don’t Be Too Pessimistic About New Zealand’s Future.

With the first hurdle hopped our Government will be turning its attention to trying to soften the economic damage this pandemic has on our little archipelago. More>>

Eric Zuesse: U.S. Empire: Biden And Kerry Gave Orders To Ukraine’s President

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at Strategic Culture On May 19th, an implicit international political warning was issued, but it wasn’t issued between countries; it was issued between allied versus opposed factions within each of two countries: U.S. and Ukraine. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Budget Cockups In The Time Of Coronavirus: Reporting Errors And Australia’s JobKeeper Scheme

Hell has, in its raging fires, ringside seats for those who like their spreadsheets. The seating, already peopled by those from human resources, white collar criminals and accountants, becomes toastier for those who make errors with those spreadsheets. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Welcome Deaths: Coronavirus And The Open Plan Office

For anybody familiar with that gruesome manifestation of the modern work place, namely the open plan office, the advent of coronavirus might be something of a relief. The prospects for infection in such spaces is simply too great. You are at risk from ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Why Thinking Makes It So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

The “gate” suffix has been wearing thin since the break-in scandal that gave it its birth. Since Watergate, virtually anything dubious and suggestive, and much more besides, is suffixed. Which brings us to the issue of President Donald Trump’s ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Brutal Choices: Anders Tegnell And Sweden’s Herd Immunity Goal

If the title of epidemiological czar were to be created, its first occupant would have to be Sweden’s Anders Tegnell. He has held sway in the face of sceptics and concern that his “herd immunity” approach to COVID-19 is a dangerous, and breathtakingly ... More>>