According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which consolidates data from a range of sources, as of May 12, there have been 4,201,921 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in 187 countries and regions.
In the US, we are supporting more than 20 health facilities in Los Angeles, New York City, Puerto Rico,
Chicago and Detroit with emergency medical field units, equipment, supplies and volunteer staff.
We have screened more than 200,000 individuals for COVID-19 at our global missions and have distributed more than 2.6 million items of personal protective equipment to supported health facilities.
We have trained more than 8,000 frontline healthcare professionals on COVID-19 prevention and control measures.
Globally, there are currently more than 4.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 286,000 deaths from the disease. Though the growth in new cases has continued to remain on a relative plateau for the past month, last week had the highest number of new cases yet seen, with more than 620,000 new cases confirmed. Much of this growth has been attributed to Russia and Brazil, which together totaled more than 130,000 over the last week. Yet as significant as the numbers of new cases in Brazil are, there is good reason to believe that the numbers are undercounting the actual situation. Brazil has tested a mere 0.16% of its population, lagging far behind all other countries with a similar caseload. Also troubling is that more than 45% of Brazil’s tests have returned positive results, placing it among the countries with the highest percentage of positive tests in the world (see Figure 1). These factors lead many public health experts to predict that Brazil will soon become the new epicenter for the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Europe, Spain, Italy, France and Germany continue to experience declining numbers of new cases. Each country has responded by initiating the reopening of their countries. In Spain—except in Madrid and Barcelona—bars and restaurants can reopen 50% of their outdoor seating, and residents are allowed to meet in groups of up to ten. In Germany, shops, restaurants and hotels can reopen. Speaking of the reopening, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “The first phase of the pandemic is behind us, but we have to be aware that we are still in the beginning of the pandemic and that we will have to deal with this virus for a long time.” Russia’s caseload, on the other hand, is multiplying. Russia has seen an average of more than 10,000 confirmed new cases of COVID-19 each day over the last week.
In the United States, there are more than 1.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 81,000 deaths. The growth in new cases has remained mostly stationary over the last month, averaging more than 26,000 cases per day over the previous week. Though most countries observed considerable drops in new cases one month after reaching their peaks, the United States still sees case numbers at more than 80% of its highest observed values.
Despite the high number of new cases, every state except for New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts have either begun to reopen or has released plans for their reopening.
In Africa, confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the continent. There are more than 64,000 total confirmed cases and more than 2,200 confirmed deaths in Africa. The actual growth of the virus is likely much higher than the statistics show, as most countries have limited testing capacity. Adding to concern is the underdeveloped health systems of many African nations. Of particular note is a significant shortage of medical oxygen across Africa, which could lead to dire outcomes for patients with severe pneumonia from COVID-19.
On a worldwide level, there is mounting evidence that the total number of COVID-19 deaths has been significantly undercounted, possibly by as much as 60%. An analysis of 14 countries affected by the virus shows excess mortality of 122,000 over the average death rate from the last five years, compared to only 77,000 official COVID-19 deaths in these same 14 countries. Of the studied areas, Bergamo Province, Italy, showed the highest increase in death rate, at +463%. Researchers have concluded that, worldwide, more than 100,000 COVID-19 deaths have likely gone uncounted—and even this could be a conservative estimate, as many experts believe that the worldwide lockdown has brought about a lowering in the death rate from other causes, such as motor accidents and job-related injuries.