The Parque Taruma cemetery during the coronavirus outbreak in Manaus, Brazil.

Brazil now has the second-highest number of reported coronavirus cases, surpassing Russia.

Blue, turquoise, and white crosses mark the dead in mass graves in Manaus, Brazil, a visual reminder of the toll the novel coronavirus has had on the country.

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which also forecasts the US death toll and has been used by the White House, has estimated that if no changes are enacted, 125,833 people in Brazil could die from the coronavirus by August 4.

As of Wednesday, the country had 25,598 reported deaths.

Photos published by Reuters showed mass graves and burials across the country with the death toll continuing to rise.

The US has put travel restrictions on Brazil as the virus spreads in the country.

An excavator at the Parque Taruma cemetery during a mass burial in Manaus on Tuesday. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

As of Wednesday, Brazil had close to 412,000 cases. Russia had a little more than 370,500, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The Nova Cachoeirinha cemetery in Sao Paulo. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

President Bolsonaro downplayed the outbreak from the start.

Bolsonaro “continuously downplayed the seriousness of the virus, vocally opposed state governors’ decisions to impose lockdown measures, personally attended anti-lockdown protests, and pushed for businesses to reopen despite the growing outbreak.”

Some are worried the outbreak could “become a real genocide” for indigenous groups in the country.

Relatives at a mass burial of people at the Parque Taruma cemetery in Manaus on Tuesday. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

Healthcare workers in Brazil do not have the necessary tools to protect themselves and to treat coronavirus patients.

Gravediggers working at a mass burial of people at the Parque Taruma cemetery. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

The Wall Street Journal reported that at least 116 nurses had died in Brazil. Nurses and other healthcare workers in the country often must use “aging equipment and lack enough face shields, goggles, gloves, and gowns to battle a highly contagious disease.”

Bolsonaro has largely remained dismissive of the outbreak.

Relatives at a mass burial. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

On April 28, when Bolsonaro was asked about the then-record daily death toll of 474, he replied, “So what?” according to The Guardian.

“I’m sorry. What do you want me to do?” he continued.

Sweden has the highest coronavirus death rate in the world, and it’s getting even worse

New data shows Sweden has the highest COVID-19 death rate per capita in the world. This fact calls the Scandinavian country’s relaxed lockdown strategy into question.

In early-March, Sweden opted for minimal restrictions, including the banning of public events of more than 50 people, barring visits to care homes, non-essential travel and anti-crowding rules in bars and restaurants.

The measures had a positive effect despite critics questioning Sweden’s non-authoritarian approach. But from early April, the numbers began to change, showing the country’s death toll was starting to climb.

Figures published by Our World in Data shows Sweden now has the highest death rate per capita in the world. In the seven days between May 12 and 19, Sweden reported, on average, 6.25 COVID-19 deaths per million per day.

The current COVID-19 death toll stands at 4,226 – almost 40 deaths per 100,000 people.

Sweden has largely remained open for business during the coronavirus outbreak, with many bars, shops and restaurants welcoming customers.

Few mandatory restrictions have been brought in to help fight the pandemic, in contrast to most other European countries, which have taken a tougher approach, including lockdowns.

Scientifically, Paul Franks and Peter Nilsson, professors of epidemiology for Sweden’s Lund University, suggest the lack of action could be that Swedish modeling shows the country expects the rate of hospitalization to be much lower than in other European countries.

This could be down to the understanding that many people will become infected but suffer no symptoms – keeping them away from the healthcare system.

Until now, there has been no widespread screening program or extensive antibody testing – so there is no true, accurate picture as to who does and does not have COVID-19 in Sweden.

But the government said on Tuesday it will launch a national testing regime, with the focus initially on health workers and others in key jobs.

Sweden has tested around 36,000 individuals and mostly people in need of hospital care. Germany has been testing around 500,000 people a week.

Writing an essay in The Conversation, Professors Franks and Nilsson added that the virus will have an uneven spread in the country, due its lack of built-up metropolitan areas, suggesting, at least for now, some areas could be spared a major outbreak, lessening the need for a total shutdown.

They also suggest that the country could be aiming for a herd immunity tactic. It would mean around 60% of the population would need to catch, then recover from COVID-19, to dramatically slow the spread of the disease.

Global health officials have said that once people have recovered from coronavirus, they have a certain level of immunity, due to the build-up of antibodies.

There is also a practical argument in Sweden as to why there is no widespread lockdown, in that schools can remain open to allow parents to continue working.

Professors Franks and Nilsson also said that a lockdown would severely harm the economy, making it likely that funding for a health service would be reduced, putting more lives at risk in the future.

However, there is skepticism around the Swedish approach to the outbreak, and some experts do admit that the pandemic in the country is likely to get a lot worse and trigger a lockdown in the near future.

Sweden is making preparations for a high level of cases, building a makeshift field hospital at the Stockholm International Fairs facility with thousands of bed – suggesting a change in policy is not far away.

U.S. coronavirus deaths pass 100,000 mark in under four months, leading the world

The U.S.’s coronavirus death toll surpassed 100,000 in less than four months on Wednesday, a heart-rending inflection point in a pandemic that has profoundly altered Americans’ daily lives, ravaged the U.S. economy and put the country’s bare-knuckle political disunity on display for all the world to see.

The first U.S. death was reported Feb. 29, a patient in the Seattle area, but several earlier fatalities — not attributed at the time to COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus — have since come to light. Today, the United States, despite its wealth and scientific prowess, has the world’s highest numbers of both cases and deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s widely cited global tracker.

The loss of lives reflected in the tragic new milestone has put President Trump’s reelection at risk, as numerous polls show widespread belief among voters that he has mismanaged the crisis — from his early denials of a problem and promise of zero deaths to his erratic stewardship of the response once the death count began.

Spurred partly by Trump’s defiant rhetoric and example, even the responses recommended by his own public health experts — social distancing, wearing masks, staying home — have come to divide Americans along partisan lines after an initial period of broad adherence to the unprecedented limits on their way of life. He has urged the nation to “reopen” and has consistently refused to wear a mask in public, going so far as to mock his Democratic rival for the presidency, former Vice President Joe Biden, for doing so at a Memorial Day observance.

Yet the state and local efforts nationwide since mid-March to limit social interaction, to shutdown schools and all but essential businesses and to encourage millions of Americans to work from home did limit the spread of infections, studies and disease models suggested. In mid-May, a research team at Columbia University reported that if such measures had been taken a week earlier, about 36,000 fewer people would have died; had the restrictions been imposed two weeks earlier, on March 1, about 54,000 fewer deaths would have occurred.

In early March, however, Trump was opposed to such steps. On March 9 he suggested in a tweet that the coronavirus infection was no worse than a seasonal flu and added, “Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment, there are 546 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”

Unrepentant about such statements, on Tuesday the president claimed without evidence on Twitter that but for his early actions to restrict travel from China, 1.5 million to 2 million lives would have been lost.

Wisconsin reports record number of new coronavirus cases, deaths

Wisconsin in the U.S. saw a record number of new coronavirus cases and deaths reported in a single day on Wednesday, two weeks after the state’s Supreme Court struck down its statewide stay-at-home order.

The state reported 599 new known COVID-19 cases on Wednesday with 22 known deaths, according to Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services, the highest recorded daily rise since the pandemic began there. As of Wednesday, the state had more than 16,460 known cases and 539 known deaths, according to the department.

The previous record in new coronavirus cases was 528 the week prior.

Wisconsin also issued a record number of test results Wednesday, with more than 10,300 tests conducted, according to the department.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers spoke of the importance of wearing a mask in public Wednesday in order to keep others safe from the virus.

On May 13, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court struck down the state’s stay-at-home order during the pandemic as “unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable” after finding that the state’s health secretary exceeded her authority.

The order had put Evers at odds with the state’s Republic-controlled legislature.

Some local officials, including those in Milwaukee and Madison, have since instituted their own regulations.

In a 4-3 ruling, the court called Health Services Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm’s directive a “vast seizure of power.”

The order directed all people in the state to stay at home or at their places of residence, subject only to exceptions allowed by Palm, the ruling said. The order, which had been set to run until May 26, also restricted travel and business, along with threatening jail time or fines for those who don’t comply.

“Republican legislators have convinced four justices to throw our state into chaos,” Evers said in a statement at the time.

“We cannot let today’s ruling undo all the work we have done and all the sacrifices Wisconsinites have made over these past few months,” he said in the mid-May statement. “I am disappointed in the decision today, but our top priority has been and will remain doing what we can and what we have to do to protect the health and safety of the people of our state.”

Shortly after the ruling, the Tavern League of Wisconsin, an industry group, posted a message on social media saying that as a result of the decision, businesses could reopen “immediately.”

Just hours after the order, several bars in West Allis reopened for business, according to NBC affiliate WTMJ.

South Korea cases climb

South Korea reported 58 more coronavirus cases in 24 hours, as health officials seek to control a new outbreak at a distribution center for Softbank-backed Coupang Corp., an e-commerce company.

The latest numbers come a day after South Korea reported 79 new infections, the highest number of cases since April 5. So far, 96 logistics center-related cases have been confirmed. Out of 4,351 employees and visitors, 3,836 people have completed tests.

In the wake of the new cluster, the South Korean government said it was temporarily closing public museums, parks and galleries in the Seoul metropolitan area and may consider stronger social distancing measures if the situation worsens.

Manila to relax lockdown

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said restrictions in the capital region will be further eased from June 1 despite a record rise in daily infections.

Metro Manila and three surrounding regions will be placed under a so-called “general community quarantine” — where strict stay-at-home orders are lifted, except for the young and the elderly, Duterte said in a televised briefing in Manila late Thursday. The rest of the country will be placed under a “modified general community quarantine,” which is a transition phase to looser regulations.

India

India is the latest country whose coronavirus death toll has topped the number of lives lost in China, where the pandemic started, as hot spots shift to developing countries ill-equipped to contain its spread.

The South Asian nation’s death toll hit 4,695 on Thursday, climbing past the 4,638 fatalities from Covid-19 in China. The nation of 1.3 billion people now has the highest number of fatalities in Asia, excluding Iran, despite the largest lockdown in the world.

The country’s death toll quadrupled in less than a month, accelerating by more than 1,000 over the past week, while infections have been soaring at a similar pace. Government experts have begun to acknowledge the outbreak will not peak until June or July.

Latin America

Latin America now accounts for 40% of daily virus deaths as cases surge in countries from Mexico to Peru.

Tokyo to ease business restrictions June 1

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is planning to ease business restrictions to “step 2” of its reopening plan from Monday, allowing shopping malls, gyms and movie theaters to reopen, Nikkei reported, without attribution. The government will continue to ask karaoke outlets and internet cafes to stay closed, the report said.

Vietnam may allow visits from nations with no outbreaks

Vietnam is considering accepting foreign tourists only from countries that have not seen new infections of the novel coronavirus, the government said in a website post. The government plans to initially allow these foreign visitors to only visit some of its islands, according to the post. No time frame was provided for the plan.

Japan Factory Output Drops Most Since 2011 Quake

Japanese factory output fell in April the most since the 2011 tsunami and retail sales plunged as the coronavirus froze demand at home and abroad and the recession deepened.

Industrial production 9.1% from March, dropping for a third month, the trade ministry reported. Economists forecast a 5.7% drop. Retail sales fell 9.6% from a month earlier. The projection was for a 6.9% slide.

The data come after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government this week unveiled a $1.1 trillion economic package.

Texas cases climb

Texas cases climbed 3.2%, almost twice the seven-day average, to 59,766, according to health department data. New-case detections outpaced the 2.9% increase in testing and, in terms of raw numbers, the case count increased at the steepest daily rate since the pandemic began. Fatalities rose 2.5% to 1,601.

U.S. cases rise 1.2%

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 1.2% as compared to the same time Wednesday, to 1.71 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That is in line with Wednesday’s rate and the average of 1.3% over the past seven days. Deaths rose 1.4% to 101,129.

New York had more than 366,000 cases and 23,600 fatalities as of May 27, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. Hospitalizations are declining, and daily fatalities were below 100 for a fourth day, after peaking at more than 700 in April.

California cases rose 2.7% to 101,697 while deaths rose 2.3% to 3,973, according to the state’s website.


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