In early October, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a startling statistic: About 1 in 10 people around the world may have been infected with the novel coronavirus.
According to Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergency expert, the virus is surging again in parts of southeast Asia, Europe, and the eastern Mediterranean. This has driven up the numbers and increased vulnerability to COVID-19 related disease worldwide.
“Our current best estimates tell us about 10% of the global population may have been infected by this virus. It varies depending on country, it varies from urban to rural, it varies depending on groups. But what it does mean is that the vast majority of the world remains at risk,” Ryan said. “We are now heading into a difficult period. The disease continues to spread.”
States and Countries Hit Grim Milestones
In the ten months since the coronavirus pandemic emerged, the United States has recorded more than 7,300,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 208,000 related deaths. In the last seven days alone, nearly 301,000 new cases have been reported, with nearly a tenth of them in Texas.
No other country comes close to the number of COVID-19 deaths recorded in the United States. Brazil, with 146,000 COVID-19 deaths, and India, with 103,000 deaths, come in second and third to the U.S.
Recent reports indicate that numbers are spiking in areas that previously had coronavirus under control, including Utah, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Paris Shuts Bars to Halt COVID Spread
Bars and cafes across Paris, France are responding to rising coronavirus rates by shutting their doors for at least two weeks.
“These are braking measures because the epidemic is moving too fast,” Paris police chief Didier Lallement explained in early October.
On Saturday, October 3, France reported 17,000 new coronavirus cases, which is the highest daily number since the country initiated widespread testing. Paris accounted for about 3,500 new daily cases, with a high of 6,000 recorded at the end of September.
Health Minister Olivier Veran explained that only improved COVID-19 infection rates will allow bars and cafes to reopen and prevent additional closures in the future. Restaurants, meanwhile, can continue to operate as long as they abide by stricter social distancing and infection control requirements:
- Provide hand sanitizer at every table
- Limit patrons to six to a table
- Place tables at least 3 feet apart
“We are constantly adapting to the reality of this epidemic, the reality of the virus, and we must continually find a balance between the health of our fellow citizens and the reality and necessity of economic and social life,” said Lallement.