Just two days after posting a new record number of daily coronavirus infections, the world shattered it again this week — inching ever closer to half a million new cases in just 24 hours.
Around the globe, more than 443,750 new COVID-19 cases were reported Wednesday, according to public health data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That broke the previous record of over 439,890 cases reported Monday.
In fact, new records have been set globally for new cases five out of the past eight days, the data shows.
As of midnight Friday, global infections have reached over 41.6 million, while more than 1,136,000 patients have died.
The near-daily records are being set as most Western countries, along with parts of Latin America, are seeing new surges in infections that for many nations are surpassing the peaks seen in the spring and summer.
On Thursday, Europe crossed 200,000 daily infections for the first time, according to a Reuters tally, with many Southern European countries reporting their highest single-day cases this week.
The continent, which bore the brunt of the first wave of the virus in March and April, has seen its reported coronavirus cases more than double in just 10 days.
Combined, European nations have reported about 7.8 million total coronavirus cases and about 247,000 deaths to date, according to government data. The cases account for for nearly 19 per cent of global cases and about 22 per cent of global deaths.
Canada is also seeing its own second wave overtake the first. Thursday saw a new record of over 2,700 new infections, just one day after a record 2,600 new cases were reported for the first time since the pandemic began.
The United States, meanwhile, is experiencing what many are calling a third wave of the virus, which is close to matching the peak seen this past summer. That surge surpassed the initial wave in the spring, before widespread lockdowns largely cooled the rate of infection.
The past week has seen the U.S. — which leads the world in both cases, at 8.4 million, and deaths, at over 222,000 — climb back to reporting over 60,000 cases a day, while daily deaths have returned to over 1,000.
Latin American countries, meanwhile, account for half of the top 10 most infected nations worldwide — including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Mexico.
Argentina on Monday became the fifth country to cross a million confirmed infections. Colombia is expected to follow soon, having reported over 990,000 as of Thursday.
The situation in South and Central America is more mixed than in Europe and other Western nations. Infections in Brazil and Peru are beginning to fall compared to their neighbours, although officials recently reported 12 regions are spiking back up. Mexico, likewise, has seen a rise in a quarter of all states over the last week.
— With files from Reuters and the Associated Press
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