COVID World News This Week: Cases Still High in India, the Americas

In the past week, 1.8 million more people worldwide got COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). COVID-associated deaths fell by 3%. India had the most new COVID-19 cases, close to 500,000.

Over half of all new cases and deaths globally have been in the Americas; cases are still rising in Peru, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina. With over 620,000 cases, Peru is second in Latin America (after Brazil) in total infections. In Peru, death rates from COVID-19 are among the worst worldwide, 28,000 so far in a population of 33 million (and 86 deaths per 100,000 people). Peru still has fewer COVID-related deaths than Brazil or Mexico.

Peru has extended its national state of emergency until September 30. Some of the worst-affected areas will stay in lockdown. Nearly two weeks ago, a police raid on a Peruvian disco led to a stampede of people that killed 13. The raid was meant to enforce Peru’s COVID-19 lockdown rules. Roughly 120 people were in the disco, which had only one door. As the crowd rushed the door, they trampled one another.

The U.S. anticipates fast-track approval of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222, once phase III trials are completed. U.K. company AstraZeneca is working with Oxford Biomedica on plans to mass-produce the vaccine.

COVID-19 cases are again on the rise in Europe. Many there are concerned about the additional effects of the coming winter flu season and the reopening of businesses and schools. Children across the continent are returning to school under stringent safety requirements, including hygiene and social distancing protocols and staggered activity times.

China began free testing for SARS-CoV-2 in Hong Kong, and has sent a team of 60 from the mainland to do the tests. Doctors and the public have viewed the move with suspicion. Activists have called for a boycott. Chinese and Hong Kong authorities claim resisters are being unhelpfully political.

In Indonesia, an unpleasant, dangerous side effect of the pandemic has been a buildup of medical waste, first in the landfills and then in the waterways.  According Indonesian health officials, the nation generated 1,480 tons of COVID-19 medical waste from March through June. The country lacks adequate waste treatment facilities.

By May, the buildup of waste was so great at the Cipeucang landfill in Tangerang that the walls of the landfill collapsed, sending tons of medical debris into the Cisadane River. Many people live along the river, and people wash their laundry in it.

Australia has had close to 25,500 COVID-19 infections and nearly 600 deaths. Victoria state officials reported fewer  increases in cases than in the previous two months. Victoria was a hotspot for a second wave of COVID-19 infections, and the nearly 5-million-person region has been in lockdown. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has said that once case numbers have lowered sufficiently, officials will consider easing restrictions. Nearly a month ago, cases in Victoria hit a one-day high of close to 700.

Australia has struck a deal with AstraZeneca for enough coronavirus vaccine doses to treat 25 million people for free. New Zealand also plans to use “hundreds of millions of dollars” to secure access to a COVID-19 vaccine, once one is available.

Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice. Do not take action based solely on this article and always consult with an appropriate healthcare professional. This article is purely for informational purposes.

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