Just before global cases reached 1 million, the COVID-19 worldwide death toll passed 50,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The world knew almost nothing about the virus in December, when reports of a new
“Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new cases, reaching almost every country, territory and area,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing at the organization’s Geneva headquarters Wednesday.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 500,000 a week ago, according to Hopkins.
Since then, the U.S.
Infections in the U.S.
The virus threatens to spread widely across Africa, where a number of countries have seen hundreds of positive tests, according to Hopkins. The virus has infected more than 1,300 people in South Africa, according to Hopkins data, and more than 900 in Algeria.
The WHO has repeatedly emphasized the potentially devastating impact of epidemics across Africa, where many health systems are ill-equipped to care for what could be an overwhelming number of critical patients.