The world has reached a grim new milestone, recording the highest ever number of coronavirus cases in a single week.
Some 5.2 million new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the last seven days, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Monday. It’s the most cases reported in a week since the beginning of the pandemic.
The number of cases worldwide has been increasing for eight consecutive weeks, and the number of deaths has been on the rise for the past five weeks, according to Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO.
He added that the rate of infection and hospitalisation for people aged 25 to 59 was “increasing at an alarming rate”. He said this could possibly be attributed to “increased social mixing among younger adults”.
It comes as Australians are enjoying a coronavirus-free life, but the government is battling through a vaccination rollout that’s hit a number of hurdles and faces continued criticism.
Dr Ghebreyesus warned the number of deaths was accelerating despite vaccine rollouts in some countries.
“It took nine months to reach 1 million deaths, four months to reach 2 million and three months to reach 3 million deaths,” he said.
“Big numbers can make us numb, but each one of these deaths is a tragedy for families, communities and nations.
Hot spot countries fuelling surge
The warning from the WHO is a reminder the pandemic has continued to rage in parts of the globe.
A significant portion of the world’s cases have come from India, which reported almost 300,000 new cases on Wednesday alone, and more than 180,000 and 256,000 new cases each day for the past week.
India’s former prime minister Manmohan Singh is among those infected and was hospitalised this week. He is in a stable condition.
The country has now recorded more than 15.3 million cases of coronavirus, and 180,000 deaths.
India has overtaken Brazil for the second most number of total infections recorded – and remains second to the US, which has reported just under 32 million.
The country, which has a population of 1.36 billion, achieved a relatively stable daily infection rate of 11,000 a day earlier this year, in February.
The huge spike in cases has been blamed on the government, which eased back on most of the country’s lockdown restrictions in January this year.
In an address to the nation on Tuesday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country was “once again fighting a big fight”.
“The situation was under control till a few weeks back, and then this second corona wave came like a storm,” he said.