WHO warns of 10 million COVID-19 cases by next week

The number of global coronavirus cases is expected to hit 10 million next week, in a bleak sign the pandemic is not slowing down. 

World Health Organisation director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he expects the world to surpass 10 million virus cases sometime next week. Picture: Christopher Black/World Health Organisation/AFP
With the global number of coronavirus cases currently at 9.24 million, the World Health Organisation has predicted the grim milestone of 10 million infections will be reached sometime next week. 

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the number of new cases being reported was increasing exponentially.

In the first month of this outbreak, less than 10,000 cases were reported to WHO. In the last month, almost four million cases have been reported, Dr Tedros said.
We expect to reach a total of 10 million cases within the next week.

This milestone reflects the scary new pace with which the virus is spreading. Figures from Johns Hopkins reveal it took 100 days for worldwide cases to reach 1 million, but only six days for them to go from 8 million to 9 million, and this pace shows no sign of slowing.

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Dr Tedros also told a news briefing he backed Saudi Arabia’s decision to ban pilgrims from abroad from attending the annual Haj pilgrimage to help limit the spread of the virus.

He said WHO was now supporting many countries in dealing with difficulties obtaining oxygen concentrators, devices which boost the flow of oxygen to support the breathing of COVID-19 sufferers.

Demand is outstripping supply, he said.

Dr Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies program, said the pandemic for many countries in the Americas had not yet peaked and that it was “still intense” – especially in Central and South America.

I would characterise the situation as still evolving, not having reached its peak yet, and likely to result in sustained numbers of cases and deaths in the coming weeks, Dr Ryan said.

Many countries in the region have experienced 25-50 per cent increases in cases in the last week, he said.

In the United States, new COVID-19 cases have surged to the highest level in two months.

According to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the US on Tuesday reported 34,700 new virus cases.

That’s one of the highest numbers of cases reported since the outbreak began, only surpassed on April 9, when 34,800 cases were reported, and April 24, when a record 36,400 cases were reported.

New cases in the US have been surging for more than a week, after they had been trending down for more than six weeks.

The US has more known cases of coronavirus than any other country, with more than 2.4 million people infected and more than 124,000 dead.

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