Since its first reported case in Wuhan, China, the COVID-19 coronavirus has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Today, it surpasses over five million confirmed cases and has claimed the lives of over 300,000 people around the world, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University.
This harrowing landmark reports a total of 5,097,944 global infections and 332,425 deaths, as of writing. The United States leads the world with 1,575,064 confirmed cases and 94,661 deaths. Russia follows with 317,554 cases, with Brazil at its heels with 291,579 cases. Meanwhile, the Philippines counts 13,434 cases—putting us at the 43rd spot of the most number of confirmed coronavirus cases. (Visit our COVID-19 case tracker to check the latest stats daily.)
In Europe, Spain overtakes Italy as the hardest hit in the continent, reporting a total of 233,037 cases. Turkey and Iran count the highest number of coronavirus cases in the Middle East. On the other hand, China's numbers dwindled to 84,063, "with the country reporting its lowest number of new coronavirus patients since January," Al Jazeera writes.
"We still have a long way to go in this pandemic," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a news conference. "We are very concerned about rising cases in low and middle income countries." In fact, the global health agency announced last Wednesday a record-breaking 106,000 new cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours.
WHO also comes with a warning that easing coronavirus restrictions and reopening the economy too quickly may lead to a "vicious cycle" of economic and health disasters. "If you reopen in the presence of a high degree of virus transmission, then that transmission may accelerate," Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s emergencies program says. "That has more danger for the economic system than it actually has on the health system in a sense."
Meanwhile, the race to developing a vaccine against the virus is still on.