ROME – The world surpassed two sobering coronavirus milestones Sunday – 500,000 confirmed deaths and 10 million confirmed cases – and hit another high mark for daily new infections as governments that attempted reopenings continued to backtrack and warn that worse news could be yet to come.
“COVID-19 has taken a very swift and very dangerous turn in Texas over just the past few weeks,” said Gov. Greg Abbott, who allowed businesses to start reopening in early May, but on Friday shut down bars and limited restaurant dining amid a spike in cases.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom rolled back reopenings of bars in seven counties, including Los Angeles. He ordered them to close immediately and urged eight other counties to issue local health orders mandating the same.
More Florida beaches will be closing again to avert further spread of the new coronavirus as officials try to tamp down large gatherings amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said interactions among young people are driving the surge.
“Caution was thrown to the wind, and so we are where we are,” DeSantis said.
South Africa’s health minister warned that the country’s current surge of cases is expected to rapidly increase in the coming weeks and push hospitals to the limit. Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize said the current rise in infections has come from people who “moved back into the workplace.”
New clusters of cases at a Swiss nightclub and in the central English city of Leicester showed that the virus was still circulating widely in Europe, though not with the rapidly growing infection rate seen in parts of the U.S., Latin America and India.
Poland and France, meanwhile, attempted a step toward normalcy as they held elections that had been delayed by the virus.
Wearing mandatory masks, social distancing in lines and carrying their own pens to sign voting registers, French voters cast ballots in a second round of municipal elections. Poles also wore masks and used hand sanitizer, and some in virus-hit areas were told to mail in their ballots.
“I didn’t go and vote the first time around because I am elderly and I got scared,” said Fanny Barouh as she voted in a Paris school.
A reported tally Sunday from Johns Hopkins University researchers said the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic had topped 500,00.
About 1 in 4 of those deaths – more than 125,000 – have been reported in the U.S. The country with the next highest death toll is Brazil with more than 57,000.
The true death toll from the virus, which first emerged in China late last year, is widely believed to be significantly higher. Experts say that especially early on, many victims died of COVID-19 without being tested for it.
The World Health Organization announced another daily record in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases across the world – surpassing 189,000 in a single 24-hour period. The tally eclipses the previous record a week earlier of more than 183,000 cases.
Britain’s government, meanwhile, is considering whether a local lockdown is needed for the central English city of Leicester amid reports about a spike in COVID-19 among its Asian community. It would be Britain’s first local lockdown.
“We have seen flare-ups across the country in recent weeks,” Home Secretary Priti Patel told the BBC on Sunday.
Polish voters were casting ballots, in person and by mail, for a presidential election that was supposed to have taken place in May but was chaotically postponed amid the pandemic. President Andrzej Duda, a 48-year-old conservative backed by the nationalist ruling Law and Justice party, is running against 10 other candidates as he seeks a second five-year term.
Iwona Goge, 79, was encouraged to see so many people voting in Warsaw.
“It’s bad. Poland is terribly divided and people are getting discouraged,” she said.
Italy was honoring its dead later Sunday with an evening Requiem concert in hard-hit Bergamo province. The ceremony in the onetime epicenter of the European outbreak came a day after Italy registered the lowest daily tally of COVID-19 deaths in nearly four months: eight.
European leaders were taking no chances in tamping down new clusters. German authorities renewed a lockdown in a western region of about 500,000 people after about 1,300 slaughterhouse workers tested positive.
Africa’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 continued to climb to a new high of more than 371,000, including 9,484 deaths, according to figures released Sunday by the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Associated Press journalists around the world contributed to this report.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.