Global cases of the novel coronavirus have reached more than 8 million, as infections surge in Latin America, while the United States and China grapple with fresh outbreaks.
he United States still leads the world with the highest number of infections, about 2 million or 25 per cent of all reported cases.
However, the outbreak is growing fastest in Latin America, which now accounts for 21 per cent of all cases, according to a Reuters tally.
Brazil’s COVID-19 cases and deaths have surged to make it the number 2 hotspot for the pandemic worldwide.
The first case was reported in China in early January and it took until early May to reach 4 million cases.
It has taken just five weeks to double to 8 million cases, according to the Reuters tally.
Global deaths stand at more than 434,000 and have doubled in seven weeks.
Although Brazil’s official death toll from the pandemic had risen to nearly 44,000, the true impact was likely far greater than the data showed, health experts said, citing a lack of widespread testing in Latin America’s largest country.
In the US, which has more than 116,000 deaths, testing is still ramping up months after the start of the outbreak.
After cases declined in much of the US for weeks, many areas are now reporting record new cases and hospitalisations.
Fears of a second wave in hard-hit US states — or a failure to get a grip on the first wave in some others — have led health experts to plead with the public to wear masks, avoid large gatherings and maintain social distance.
China is also grappling with a resurgence of the virus just as its economy is trying to recover from shutdowns earlier this year.
After nearly two months with no new infections, the capital Beijing has seen a spike in cases linked to the biggest wholesale food market in Asia.