0334 GMT September 23, 2020
Nearly 5,900 people are dying every 24 hours from COVID-19 on average, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the past two weeks, Reuters reported.
That equates to 247 people per hour, or one person every 15 seconds.
President Donald Trump said the coronavirus outbreak is as under control as it can get in the United States, where more than 155,000 people have died amid a patchy response to the public health crisis that has failed to stem a rise in cases.
“They are dying, that’s true,” Trump said in an interview with the Axios news website on Tuesday. “It is what it is. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing everything we can. It’s under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague.”
In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro has minimized the gravity of the pandemic and opposed lockdown measures, even as he and several of his cabinet tested positive for the virus.
The pandemic was initially slower to reach Latin America, which is home to about 640 million people, than much of the world. But officials have since struggled to control its spread because of the region’s poverty and densely packed cities.
On Monday, Latin America and the Caribbean surpassed five million coronavirus cases as the World Health Organization warned there might never be a "silver bullet" for the pandemic.
More than 100 million people across Latin America and the Caribbean live in slums, according to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. Many have jobs in the informal sector with little in the way of a social safety net and have continued to work throughout the pandemic.
Even in parts of the world that had appeared to have curbed the spread of the virus, countries have recently seen single-day records in new cases, signaling the battle is far from over.
Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Bolivia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Belgium and Uzbekistan all recently had record increases in cases.
Australia also reported a record number of new deaths on Wednesday, taking the country’s total to 247.
In Afghanistan, according to Health Ministry estimates published Wednesday, nearly a third of the country's population – or 10 million people – has been infected with the coronavirus.
The figure came from a survey based on antibody tests on around 9,500 people across the country, with technical support from the World Health Organization, Health Minister Ahmad Jawad Osmani said at a press briefing, AFP reported.
The survey estimated that 31.5 percent of the population had contracted the virus, with the highest infection rate in Kabul where more than half of the city's five million population were thought to have been infected.
But the country of around 32 million people has only limited testing capacity and has officially declared just 36,000 cases and more than 1,200 deaths.
"A second wave of the infection is happening everywhere in the world and we cannot be an exception. We will use the findings of this survey to better prepare ourselves for a possible second wave," Osmani said.
More than 18 million people worldwide have been infected with the virus since it first emerged in China late last year.