Coronavirus News Update – June 20: Brazil Death Toll Hits 500,000 Amidst ‘Critical’ Situation

By Anna Breuer on 20 June 2021
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A fruit stand in São Paulo’s Mercadão or Municipal Market

The number of Covid-19 related deaths in Brazil crossed the 500,000 mark Sunday, the second highest number in the world.  Experts say that the outbreak there will likely continue to worsen amidst the start of the country’s flu season, the poor track record on vaccinations, and the start of winter.

Meanwhile, anti-government protesters took to the streets in more than a score of cities across the country on Saturday, blaming President Jair Bolsonaro for the situation due to his attempts to minimize the impact of the disease and refusing to support measures such as social distancing. The Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, or Fiocruz, a part of the country’s Ministry of Health, termed the situation “critical”

As of Sunday morning, the world has recorded 179 million Covid-19 cases and has seen 3.88 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, over 163.6 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

In the United States, the death toll, which recently crossed the 600,000 mark, is now 617,091.  Since the start of the pandemic the country has recorded over 34.4 million individual cases, a higher figure than any other country and second only to India which has seen 29.91 million cases.

Since the start of vaccinations at the end of last year over 2.59 billion doses have been administered across the globe as of Sunday morning, the equivalent of over 34 doses for every 100 people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Sunday, 176.7 million people in the United States – or 53.2% –have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 44.9%, or 149 million people, are fully vaccinated, bringing the total number of doses dispensed in the United States to over 317 million. Breaking this down further, 65.3% of the population over the age of 18 – or 168.5 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 55.6% of the same group – or 143.6 million people – is fully vaccinated.

Singapore said it would allow 24 private clinics to administer China’s Sinovac following approval by the World Health Organization for emergency use.  The government is not, however, adding it to its national vaccination program amidst doubts over its efficacy. Studies of Phase 3 trials of the vaccine, dubbed CoronavVac, around the world are reporting an efficacy of between 50% to 84%.

A third coronavirus wave is surging in Africa with a “sobering trajectory.” Fewer than 1% of people on the African continent have been vaccinated and 22 countries there saw cases rise by over 20% on a week-over-week basis. “Africa is in the midst of a full blown third wave, said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the director for Africa at the World Health Organization.   “The sobering trajectory of surging cases should rouse everyone into urgent action.”

Finally, as the number of cases continues to increase in Mexico City, the federal Health Ministry placed the city into a higher Covid-19 risk tier just two weeks after it was put into the lowest tier. Schools that had just returned to in-person instruction will close and resume remote classes.

Paul Riegler contributed reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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