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43,000 new COVID-19 cases sap U.S.’s July 4 celebrations

Conquering COVID-19: Retired sergeant Gonzalo Perez, who successfully recovered from COVID-19, gestures while leaving a hospital in Jalisco, Mexico, on Saturday.

Conquering COVID-19: Retired sergeant Gonzalo Perez, who successfully recovered from COVID-19, gestures while leaving a hospital in Jalisco, Mexico, on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: ULISES RUIZ

A surge in COVID-19 cases sapped the fun out of July 4 celebrations in the United States as the pandemic also accelerated through neighbouring Mexico, the rest of Latin America and South Africa. Even Europe, which has largely been celebrating reopening, saw some setbacks, with authorities placing 200,000 people back under lockdown in Spain after a spike in infections that underlined how easily hard-won progress can be reversed.

Also read: Donald Trump entices masses with capital event as virus cases rise

The United States remains by far the world’s hardest-hit country, logging a further 43,000 cases Saturday that brought its total number of infections to more than 2.8 million, with nearly 1,30,000 deaths.

The spiralling case load cast a pall over traditional Independence Day celebrations, with beaches closed and the National Mall in Washington, usually crowded with spectators ready for fireworks, near deserted.

Mexico’s toll crossed 30,000 on Saturday, propelling it past France to become the fifth-hardest-hit country in the world.

Brazil’s numbers

And Brazil, which has defiantly opened bars and restaurants in Rio de Janeiro, notched up nearly 40,000 new cases and more than a thousand deaths, keeping it in second place behind the U.S. in the bleak global rankings.

Across the Atlantic, South Africa reported more than 10,000 new infections Saturday, its highest ever daily jump. Africa’s most economically developed country now has the greatest number of cases on the continent.

American beaches that would normally be packed on July 4 are shut on both coasts as California and Florida suffer alarming surges in cases, while bars in States such as Texas and Michigan have had to close on what should be one of their busiest weekends of the year.

New York’s public beaches reopened earlier in the week but locals in the city that was once the global epicentre of the crisis remain wary of a resurgence.

America’s former colonial master, Britain, was decidedly more cheerful on Saturday as local pubs reopened for the first time since late March.

Finance Minister Rishi Sunak urged Britons to “eat out to help out” — a message that did not appear to sit well with Health Secretary Matt Hancock. “I’m no killjoy,” said Hancock. “But the virus can still kill.”

The lockdown announcement in Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region came after regional officials noted a “sharp rise” in infections around the town of Lerida about 150 km west of Barcelona.

In Australia thousands of residents in high-rise apartments in Melbourne went into lockdown for at least five days as the country recorded its biggest daily increase of infections in months.“There are many, many vulnerable people who live in these towers,” Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Britain to fund study

Also, Britain is putting £8.4 million pounds ($10.49 million) into a new study to examine the long-term effects of COVID-19 on patients, the Health Ministry said on Sunday. “As we continue our fight against this global pandemic, we are learning more and more about the impact the disease can have, not only on immediate health, but longer-term physical and mental health too,” Mr. Hancock said.

The Department of Health said 10,000 people would take part in the study, which is being led by the University of Leicester and hospitals in the city.

Lung and blood samples of the patients will be taken and they will also be assessed by advanced imaging, and the findings will be used to develop new forms of personalised treatment.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 4:28:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/43000-new-covid-19-cases-sap-uss-july-4-celebrations/article31996409.ece

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