In India, which ranks third in the world in the number of infections after the US and Brazil, authorities reported on Thursday 34,956 new carriers and patients were diagnosed in the giant country, and the total number in the country now stands at 1,003,832 – although the true number is estimated to be much higher. This is despite the fact that India has greatly expanded the scope of tests and now performs about 300,000 a day, with the help of 1,200 laboratories.In the last day another 687 corona patients have died in the country and the total number of victims of the virus in India now stands at 25,602.
India is now worried about the spread of the virus from huge cities like New Delhi and Mumbai to smaller cities and villages, where about 70% of the country’s 1.4 billion people live. Dr Anat Bahan, a World Health Researcher, said India is likely to see a “series of highs” with the spread of the virus in its suburban and poor areas.
Following the rapid spread of the virus in India, more and more provincial states are reintroducing restrictions on residents. In Goa, authorities announced yesterday a three-day closure and a night curfew that would last until August 10. Fermond Swant, the prime minister of the provincial state off the west coast of India, said too many people “go out to meet at parties” and that residents’ level of awareness of the dangers posed by the virus is too low.
The announcement of a closure in Goa, which on weekdays is considered a tourist hotspot, was made a few days after the province of Bihar – which has 125 million inhabitants and is considered one of the poorest in India – also announced a closure for two weeks. In the city of Bangalore, which is considered to be the high-tech center of India, a closure was imposed for one week. Various restrictions have also been imposed in the provincial states of Tamil Nadu, Carla and Assam.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it will be recalled, imposed a comprehensive closure in India at a relatively early stage of the plague, in late March. The closure was accompanied by an unprecedented humanitarian crisis during which millions of Indian migrant workers who lost their jobs in the big cities migrated back to their villages, and were often forced to do so on foot following the shutdown of public transport. The New York Times notes that this migration has helped the virus spread from major cities to remote villages.
The closure was eventually lifted in June, but since then the rate of infection has continued to spread rapidly, and in India there are those who criticize Prime Minister Modi for imposing the closure too soon – then removing it too soon. It is very difficult to enforce the rules in overcrowded and poor cities. For example, in the capital of the province of Bihar, Patana, the movement of vehicles and pedestrians was vigilant even after the closure, and many did not obey the social distance guidelines or the requirement to wear a mask. “One businessman named Ranjit Singh complained to AFP staff.
The Red Cross warned yesterday that not only in India the virus is spreading vigorously, and that in Bangladesh and Pakistan as well there are signs that they are about to become the next global outbreaks. “While global attention is focused on the ongoing crisis in the United States and South America, human tragedy is emerging in parallel in South Asia,” the organization said.
The focus in South America that was mentioned in the humanitarian organization is Brazil, which tonight crossed a new dismal threshold and reported for the first time more than two million infected. The country with 210 million inhabitants reports in recent days about 40,000 new infections every day, and tonight the number of those infected reached 2,012,151. The death toll stands at 76,688.
Reuters reports that it took Brazil 27 days to climb from a million diagnosed infections to 2 million, compared to 43 days required in the United States (which is already on the way to 4 million infected). In a way that may be reminiscent of India, Brazil has big cities like Rio de Geniro and Sao Paulo – which were the first to experience an outbreak – are now reporting a stabilization in the rate of infection, and in some cases even a decline, while in other areas there has been an increase, especially in southern Brazil, in the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Perna.
“The disease has evolved not only over time, but across geographies as well,” said Roberto Madrono, a professor of medicine at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. “We have not yet reached a peak in Brazil because of the new outbreaks in different regions.”
However, according to his slope, the models predicting the continued spread in Brazil indicate that the next million cases of infection will come at a slower rate, as there are fewer “clean” areas of the virus in the giant country. He says that in late July or mid-August Brazil may even start reporting a drop in the number of new infections.
Other experts warn of the spread of the virus in southern Brazil, pointing out that temperatures there are very low during the winter of the southern hemisphere, and that the population there tends to be older. “What worries me in the south is the spread towards the population in more internal areas, which is older,” says Anderson Oliveira, a former senior official in Brazil’s health ministry. “In light of the cold and humidity, there are all the conditions for an explosion of the virus.”
While experts are concerned about the continued spread of the country, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonero has downplayed the virus along the way and even called it a “mild flu”. The president, who only last week was diagnosed as a carrier himself, opposed the restrictions and closure measures imposed by county governors, arguing that the economic damage caused by those measures is even more severe than the damage the virus is causing him. In recent weeks, and under great pressure, some governors have begun to ease restrictions, allowing renewed corona outbreaks.
Surveys conducted in the country show that the manner in which the epidemic was dealt with has hurt the president’s popularity. The proportion of Brazilians who believe his government is “bad” or “bad” has risen from 36% in December last year to 38% in April and now stands at 44%, according to a June-June survey.
“The government has not moved despite the health crisis. They have thought more about money than people,” said Rafael Rice Mario de Janeiro, who lost his 71-year-old mother to the virus. “They underestimated the disease. They did not believe in it … they wanted everyone to return to the streets.”
Meanwhile in the US – which is the most serious focus in the world with about 3.6 million infected and 138,000 dead – the re-emergence of the virus continues to break records. Tonight, authorities across the country reported, according to Reuters, more than 77,000 new infections. Continues to rise as well, standing at 969 yesterday, with Florida, South Carolina and Texas reporting a record daily death toll, with Texas and Arizona starting to face a shortage of places to bury the dead.
While the number of people infected daily surpassed the peak in its first wave, which then stood at about 36,000, a few weeks ago, it still does not come close to the peak recorded in April, so an average of 2,000 patients died every day.
As the virus continues to rage, the U.S. is still divided over the issue of wearing masks, an issue that has become politically charged in the shadow of President Donald Trump’s long-standing opposition to wearing a mask himself. The president wore a mask publicly just a week, months after his administration recommended it.
While various Republican governors succumbed to pressure and ordered their residents to wear masks, in Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp fought local leaders’ attempts to oblige residents to do so. After announcing earlier this week that he was revoking all local ordinances to wear a mask, tonight he said he would petition the court against Atlanta Democrat Mayor Keisha Lance Botomos (whose name came up as a possible candidate for Joe Biden’s deputy in the presidential race) – because she imposed Still an instruction on wearing a mask within the city limits.
Another issue that is currently preoccupying Americans is the opening of schools, with President Trump urging states to open educational institutions rather than continue in the form of distance learning, as has been done so far during the plague. But in the shadow of the re-outbreak of the virus, more and more local authorities are announcing that the school year that will begin after the summer holidays in public schools will not open in classrooms, and will be conducted at least in its infancy online.
Trump, it will be recalled, hopes to be elected to a second term in the November 3 presidential election, but in the shadow of the Corona plague and the George Floyd protest his situation in polls is dismal, and his campaign sees opening schools as a top strategic goal: returning students to classes will allow their parents to return to work. Wheels of the economy, an important means of returning voters to it. An estimated 26.8 million Americans – 16 percent of the U.S. workforce – are dependent on finding a framework for a child so they can return to work.
But it seems that his demand for the opening of educational institutions soon has no support from the general public: according to a new poll by Reuters and the Ipsos Institute, only one in four Americans thinks it is safe to open schools now. The poll indicated more support for their opening among Republican voters: Half of those who identified as Republicans said opening now is a sure thing, but only one in ten Democrats thought so.