The COVID-19 pandemic has continued its onslaught on mankind despite the relentless global effort put in place to save humanity. Cases are doubling and the death toll is rising, even as countries seek to balance health security with saving their collapsing economies.
There have been more than 50 million positive coronavirus cases worldwide since the highly infectious disease began spreading around the world over 10 months ago.
The world hit the 50 million thresholds for cases on Monday but as of Tuesday afternoon, according to data from worldometers.info, a COVID-19 tracking site, the number has jumped to 51.3 million; just to show how fast the virus is spreading.
The official number of global coronavirus cases is now at least five times the number of severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to World Health Organisation data.
The figure has more than doubled in about two months after reaching 15 million on July 22.
COVID-19, the potentially dangerous pneumonia-like disease caused by the coronavirus and said to have emanated from a local Wuhan market before spreading to over 200 countries, has claimed more than 1.2 million lives.
That has exceeded the upper range of 290,000 to 650,000 annual deaths linked to influenza.
US bearing brunt
The United States is bearing the brunt of the pandemic. On Sunday, the U.S. reported its 10 millionth coronavirus case, just 10 days after hitting nine million.
With the latest million added in just 10 days, many parts of the country are struggling to contain outbreaks in the most widespread wave of infection since the pandemic began.
Daily cases in the U.S. are also smashing new records. For the fifth consecutive day, the country has reported more than 100,000 infections with over 103,600 reported on Sunday.
Over 240,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus since February.
The grim stats came days after the US concluded its presidential elections in which a former vice president, Joe Biden is projected to have beaten incumbent president Donald Trump to emerge the country’s 46th president-elect.
On Sunday, Pfizer announced its coronavirus vaccine candidate was more than 90 per cent effective, increasing prospects that U.S. authorities will authorise the vaccine on an emergency basis as early as mid-December, according to a Washington Post projection.
As of the time of filing this report, there are 51,358,917 confirmed cases across the globe, data from worldometers.info, an online dashboard that tracks global confirmed coronavirus cases.
That figure represents all-time cases and about 36,147,663 of the infected total have recovered.
The U.S. has reported the most confirmed infections, over 10 million, followed by India, Brazil, and Russia. Those four nations represent more than half the number of known cases.
There are 13,939,868 active cases as of the time of reporting. Of that number, about 13,845,849 (99 percent) are in mild condition while only 94,019 (one percent) cases are in serious or critical conditions.
As of the time of reporting, global deaths from coronavirus complications have reached 1,271,386, data from worldometers.info showed.
The Americas still account for more than half of all fatalities worldwide owing to high death counts in Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Chile, and Ecuador.
An average of over 7,500 people die each day from COVID-19, according to a worldometers.info graph based on data from the last one week.
Countries across Europe are also seeing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases after successfully slowing outbreaks early in the year, recording more cases per day now than they did during the first wave.
England, Portugal, and Hungary are among nations currently in a second lockdown as the new wave of infection sweeps through, shattering efforts and responses to keep the contagion at bay.
Drawing on historical pandemics, health experts believe second waves of viral infections are often more destructive.
The second wave of the Spanish flu pandemic during 1918-20 was particularly devastating and more lethal than the first, according to Full Facts, an international fact-checking network. The second wave of the H1N1 swine flu epidemic in 2009 to 2010 was also more lethal than the first.
Studies also show that natural defences against viral infection like mucus and your nose’s cilia do not work as well in colder, dry climates.
As the numbers begin to increase gradually in Nigeria, worries are rife that the second wave could be well on its way and would be more deadly especially because citizens have lowered their guard on safety.
Both Nigerians and the government appear to be lax about adhering to and enforcing COVID-19 safety protocols.
A few weeks ago, the #EndSARS protest, in which the youth demanded the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian police erupted across the country with thousands trooping out in flagrant defiance to repeated calls by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and health experts to avoid mass gatherings.
Several COVID-19 protocols, including the use of face masks and maintenance of social distancing, were breached as there were mammoth crowds of protesters packed in tight spaces without face masks.
Similar situations had occurred earlier in Ondo and Edo states where governorship elections and large political gatherings were held without social distancing and use of face masks.
Nigeria’s new COVID-19 infections have increased in the last two weeks, a PREMIUM TIMES review of official data shows, suggesting a possible resurgence in COVID-19 cases after weeks of low numbers.
Last week (November 1-7), the country recorded 937 new cases, a two per cent increase from the previous week’s record of 923 cases which itself was a 32 per cent increase from the preceding week.
Nigeria recorded its highest daily figure of confirmed infections in three months with the 300 reported cases on Sunday, raising the total tally to over 64,000.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, the director of Nigeria’s infectious disease agency, NCDC said a second wave is “inevitable” if citizens do not continue to adhere to measures put in place to contain the viral pandemic.