The global tally of confirmed coronavirus cases has hit 60 million, with the pace of new infections accelerating and the United States reporting record numbers of hospitalisations, according to a Reuters tally.
Officials in the United States, the worst-affected country in the world, urged Americans to stay home for the imminent Thanksgiving holiday as soaring numbers of Covid-19 patients pushed medical professionals to the brink.
The United States has reported 1m new Covid-19 cases in less than a week, taking its total reported infections to over 12.5m and its death toll to 260,000, according to the Reuters data based on official statements.
Globally, infections stood at more than 60m and deaths at 1.4m.
An analysis of the Reuters data showed the rate of new infections picking up globally. It took just 17 days to go from 50m cases to 60m, compared with the 21 days it took to go from 40m to 50m. Around 580,000 cases have been reported each day over the past week and around half of all cases since the start of the pandemic were reported over the past 70 days.
In Europe, 1m new cases were recorded over just five days, for a total of more than 16m cases, including 365,000 deaths.
Governments across Europe are struggling to impose restrictions on public life while allowing families to celebrate Christmas without further fuelling outbreaks.
While a national lockdown in England is due to end next week, Germany, Spain, and Italy have all announced restrictions over the holiday period, including limits on house guests.
The Latin American region has the highest number of reported deaths in the world, representing about 21 percent of all global cases and over 31 percent of all global deaths reported.
Brazil last week joined the United States and India as the only countries to have recorded more than 6m infections. With almost 170,000 confirmed fatalities, Brazil has the world’s second-highest death toll.
While India remains the second-worst affected country in the world with almost 9.2m cases, it has continued to report a slowdown in new cases in recent weeks. It has reported an average of around 44,000 cases a day over the past week, well down from a peak of just under 97,900 cases in mid-September.
Asia-Pacific countries such as China, South Korea, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand had shown how rapid, local, and intrusive steps can be effective in extinguishing outbreaks.