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June 1, 2020, 2:05 p.m. EDT

Coronavirus update: Global case tally tops 6 million as weekend protests spark concerns they will lead to an increase in infections

The heads of Apple, Microsoft, Google, Netflix, Disney, AT&T and many others offered support for protesters

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By Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch


Getty Images
Protesters in Manhattan’s Foley Square.

The number of global confirmed contagions of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 climbed above 6 million on Monday, after a weekend dominated by protests across the U.S. at the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis last week.

Scenes of protests in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Detroit, among other cities, featured prominently in TV news programs and on social media, after the death of George Floyd was captured on video by bystanders. Floyd died after a police officer knelt on his neck while he was handcuffed on the ground, pleading repeatedly that he could not breathe. The officer has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder.

There was broad international support for the protests, with demonstrators gathering in London, Berlin, Vancouver, Paris, Dublin and other cities to call for an end to police brutality against black people.

Some images raised concerns that protesters could inadvertently spread the illness, as many were not wearing face coverings or few observed social distancing.

See: Day of peaceful New York City marches gives way to chaos after dark

“The large crowds of demonstrators ... raise the risk of spreading coronavirus,” said Charles Campbell, managing director and trading-desk specialist at MKM, in a Monday note.

Click to Play

Coronavirus Update: Virus Concerns Amid Protests, Meat Prices Stay High

Officials worry protests against police brutality could result in a new jump in coronavirus cases; meat plants reopen, but beef and pork remain pricey; holy grounds around the world emerge from lockdowns. WSJ’s Jason Bellini has the latest on the pandemic. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP/Getty Images

The protests are taking place as all 50 U.S. states push ahead with their reopenings and lift restrictions on movement, including states that are still showing increasing numbers of infections, against the advice of public health experts.

A Washington Post–ABC News poll published Monday found nearly 6 in 10 Americans have taken an economic hit from COVID-19, but most still say containing the spread is more important than trying to restart the economy. About three in four black Americans, who have suffered far more deaths from the virus than white Americans, say it’s more important to contain the disease than to reopen the economy.

President Donald Trump is planning to meet via videoconference with governors on Monday to discuss “keeping American communities safe.” The White House said Trump is planning the meeting with governors, law-enforcement and national-security officials, following a separate one-on-one meeting with Attorney General William Barr.

There had been speculation the president would address the nation on Sunday, but that did not materialize. Trump tweeted that he would designate anti-fascism activists as a terrorist organization.

See now: Trump took shelter in White House bunker as protests raged nearby Friday night

As the New York Times reported, his declaration against antifa, which he sought to blame for those protests that turned violent, lacked clear legal authority. The antifa movement does not have a leader or a central structure, as the Times and others noted.

At the time of this writing, Trump was addressing U.S. state governors on a conference call in a manner that was described by some as alarming .

Latest tallies

There are now 6.22 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and 373,043 people have died, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. More than 2.7 million people have recovered.

The U.S. has the highest case toll in the world at 1.8 million and the highest death toll at 104,584.

Brazil’s case tally climbed above 500,000 over the weekend with more than 16,000 new cases reported, according to the Guardian. President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been widely criticized for his failed approach to the crisis, rode a horse to a rally on Sunday, calling on the country’s supreme court to be shut down to end an investigation of him, the Guardian reported.

Brazil now has 514,849 cases after another spike overnight, and 29,314 fatalities.

Russia has 414,878 cases and 4,855 fatalities. The U.K. has 276,156 cases and 38,571 deaths, the highest death toll in Europe and second highest in the world after the U.S.

Click to Play

Why Brazil’s President Wants to Reopen the Economy, Despite Rising Death Toll

Brazil has become a major coronavirus hotspot. WSJ explains why President Jair Bolsonaro is clashing with other officials and pushing to restart businesses, even as epidemiologists warn that the rising death toll from the pandemic could grow exponentially. Photo: EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images

Spain has 239,638 cases and 27,127 deaths, while Italy has 233,197 cases and 33,475 deaths. India has passed France and Germany by case numbers at 197,264 and 5,577 deaths.

France has 189,010 cases and 28,805 deaths, while Germany has 183,508 cases and 8,549 deaths.

See: Biotech’s biggest winners are already changing how we’ll live after the coronavirus

Peru is next with 164,476 cases and 4,506 fatalities, followed by Turkey with 163,942 cases and 4,563 deaths.

Iran has 154,445 cases and 7,878 deaths, followed by Chile with 105,158 cases and 1,113 deaths.

Canada has 92,952 cases and 7,396 deaths, followed by Mexico with 90,664 cases and 9,930 fatalities.

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