US records 1,000 coronavirus deaths for 4th day

The numbers have been driven in large part by a surge in infections in Arizona, California, Florida, Texas and California

US President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus disease (Covid-19) response news briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 21, 2020. Reuters
US President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus disease (Covid-19) response news briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 21, 2020. Reuters

The United States recorded more than 1,000 deaths from Covid-19 for the fourth straight day on Friday but a top White House adviser on the pandemic said she saw signs that the worst could be past in hard-hit southern and western states.

At least 1,019 fatalities due to Covid-19 were confirmed nationwide on Friday, following 1,140 on Thursday, 1,135 on Wednesday and 1,141 on Tuesday. Total cases across the United States rose by at least 68,800 on Friday to over 4 million.

The numbers have been driven in large part by a surge in infections in Arizona, California, Florida, Texas and California.

"We're already starting to see some plateauing in these critically four states that have really suffered under the last four weeks, so Texas, California, Arizona and Florida, those major metros and throughout their counties," Dr Deborah Birx told NBC news in an interview.

Ms Birx's comments came as federal health and education officials stressed the need for children to return to in-class instruction. The American public and its leaders have been sharply divided over whether students should return to school for the fall term during the pandemic.

Ms Birx said children under the age of 18 are typically less sick than older adults from the sometimes deadly illness but called it an "open question" how readily those under 10 can spread the virus.

US President Donald Trump has pushed for schools to reopen, saying that it was critical to the mental and emotional well-being of children and the ability of their parents to work.

Elsewhere, Vietnam was back on high alert for the novel coronavirus on Saturday after medical officials in the central city of Danang detected, its first locally transmitted case for three months.

Thanks to strict quarantine measures and an aggressive and widespread testing programme, the Southeast Asian country has kept its virus total to an impressively low 415 cases and had reported no locally transmitted infections for 100 days.

Cases continued to rise elsewhere in the world. Almost 40 countries have reported record single-day increases in coronavirus infections over the past week, around double the number that did so the previous week, according to figures showing a pick-up in the pandemic in every region of the world.

The rate of cases has been increasing not only in countries like the United States, Brazil and India, which have dominated global headlines with large outbreaks, but in Australia, Japan, Bolivia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Belgium, Uzbekistan and Israel, among others.

Many countries, especially those where officials eased earlier social distancing lockdowns, are experiencing a second peak more than a month after recording their first.

"We will not be going back to the 'old normal'. The pandemic has already changed the way we live our lives," World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this week. "We're asking everyone to treat the decisions about where they go, what they do and who they meet with as life-and-death decisions because they are."

Hong Kong reported 133 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, including 126 that were locally transmitted, a record for a daily increase, as authorities warned that the city faces a critical period in containing the virus.

Ukraine reported 1,106 new cases of the coronavirus within a 24-hour period, the highest daily toll since a record on June 26, when it reached 1,109, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said on Saturday.

Governments are fast losing support for their handling of the coronavirus outbreak from a public that widely believes death and infection figures to be higher than statistics show, a survey of six countries revealed Saturday.

Support for the federal government of the United States, the country with the most reported infections and deaths, dropped by four percentage points from mid-June, with 44 per cent of respondents declaring themselves dissatisfied, said a report by the Kekst CNC communications consulting group.

In Britain, just over a third of respondents approved of their government's actions, a three-point decline in one month, according to the report, based on an opinion poll conducted over five days in mid-July.

It also included France, Sweden, Japan and Germany.

"In most countries this month, support for national governments is falling," the report said.

The notable exception was France, where approval rose by six percentage points, yielding a dissatisfaction rate of 41 per cent.

Updated: July 25, 2020 01:40 PM

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