New Coronavirus Hot Spots Emerge In U.S. As Cases Hit 20 Million Worldwide

As COVID-19 cases reach a new high around the globe, the U.S. notably struggles to contain the virus.

At least 20 million people around the globe have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The latest milestone comes just over a month after the world passed 10 million cases. More than 733,000 people have died from COVID-19 globally.

The U.S. leads with over 5 million confirmed cases and more than 163,000 deaths, making up about a quarter of all COVID-19 cases and deaths in the world. Brazil comes in second, with more than 3 million cases and over 101,000 deaths.

According to a New York Times coronavirus database, the U.S. saw nearly 48,000 new cases on Aug. 3, with many of them concentrated in the South. Several states have continued to reopen their schools and economies despite a surge in cases that began in June.

As the U.S. struggles to contain the virus, data show that Americans increasingly believe that other countries are handling the pandemic better. According to a recent HuffPost/YouGov survey, a 46% plurality of Americans said the U.S. is dealing with the coronavirus worse than other nations. A March poll found that just 28% of Americans held that view, while a May survey put that number at 36%.

World leaders appear to share Americans’ concerns about the U.S. response to the virus. The European Union has temporarily banned most travelers coming from the U.S., even as it begins to open up to other international visitors.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious diseases expert in the U.S., recently said that he’s “cautiously optimistic” that there will be a vaccine by the end of the year. But he and the World Health Organization have stressed that the virus may never be fully eradicated.

Stopping COVID-19 outbreaks “comes down to the basics of public health and disease control,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said earlier this month, adding that there will likely be no “silver bullet” for destroying the virus. He urged “testing, isolating and treating patients, and tracing and quarantining their contacts. Inform, empower and listen to communities. Do it all.”

President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed without evidence that the coronavirus will “disappear” and has called Fauci an “alarmist.” The president continues to spin his administration’s response as a success despite the rising numbers of infections, hospitalizations and deaths, as well as the economic shutdown that has led to record unemployment.

During an Axios interview that aired Aug. 3, Trump pushed back against statistics that showed an increase in COVID-19 death rates in the U.S. Once again the president claimed, contrary to public health experts, that the U.S. only has more cases because of greater testing.

Countries in Asia, Latin America and Europe ― including India, Iran, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Spain and the United Kingdom ― have also seen increases in daily new cases per capita, according to the Times database. The database reported in early August that almost twice as many countries had seen a significant rise in new cases over the previous two weeks as had reported a significant decline.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently postponed plans to further ease lockdown restrictions in England from Aug. 1 to at least Aug. 15 “in order to keep the virus under control.” The decision came as the country’s Office for National Statistics said England was experiencing an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 tests.

“I’m afraid that in parts of Asia and in Latin America, the virus is gathering pace and some of our European friends are also struggling to keep it under control,” Johnson said on July 31. “As we see these rises around the world, we can’t fool ourselves that we are exempt. We must be willing to react to the first signs of trouble.”

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