By Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch
The number of global cases of COVID-19 rose above 4.31 million on Wednesday, as Russia counted another 10,000 infections and Brazil and Mexico suffered their deadliest day since the start of the pandemic.
Brazil reported 881 deaths in a single day, taking its total number of fatalities to 12,400, according to the Guardian. President Jair Bolsonaro has been criticized for repeatedly playing down the dangers of the illness , publicly and repeatedly dismissing it as “sniffles,” and resisting the kind of restrictions on movement that public health experts say are essential to contain the spread.
Mexico suffered 353 deaths and confirmed 1,997 new cases in a 24-hour period, disappointing hopes following a lower tally earlier in the week that the illness was coming under control.
A leaked White House coronavirus task force report showed that some rural areas of the U.S. are seeing infections spike by more than 1,000% in a week, according to an NBC News report.
Other countries that were first in lifting lockdowns after strict measures succeeded in containing the spread also reported new cases. South Korea is still working to contact people infected at nightclubs in a recent outbreak in the capital city Seoul, and the Chinese city of Jilin went into lockdown to contain a fresh cluster of cases, as Agence France-Presse reported.
A leaked White House coronavirus task force report showed that some rural areas of the U.S. are seeing infections spike by more than 1,000% in a week, NBC News reported. President Donald Trump said on Monday that cases are coming down “very rapidly” across the country, but the report shows the top 10 areas recorded surges of 72.4% or more over a seven-day period compared with the week earlier.
A set of tables used by the task force to track the spread shows spikes in Nashville, Tenn.; Des Moines, Iowa; Amarillo, Texas; and — atop the list, with a 650 percent increase — Central City, Ky., according to the report. The report has not been released to the public.
The tables show the pandemic is spreading outside of those regions that were early hot spots, including in states that never imposed stay-at-home restrictions or are now pushing to relax them, as Trump has repeatedly urged them to do.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned a Senate committee on Tuesday about the risks and dangers of reopening the U.S. economy rapidly. Fauci also said the number of deaths from the illness is likely higher than the official tally given the shortage of testing. He also cautioned against assumptions such as believing children are immune.
There are now 294,647 fatalities from COVID-19, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. At least 1.5 million people have recovered.
The U.S. has the highest case toll at 1.38 million and the highest death toll at 83,150.
Russia overtook Spain in terms of confirmed cases following another spike in infections. Russia has 242,271 cases and 2,212 deaths. The U.K. has overtaken Spain in case numbers with 230,984 and 33,263 fatalities, the highest death toll in Europe.
Spain has 228,030 and 26,920 deaths. Italy has 222,104 cases and 31,106 deaths. That’s followed by Brazil with 180,737 cases and 12,635 deaths.
France has 178,184 cases and 27,077 deaths.
Germany has 173,824 cases and 7,792 deaths. Turkey has 143,114 cases and 3,952 deaths. Iran has 112,725 cases and 6,783 deaths. China, where the disease was first reported late last year, has 84,021 cases and 4,637 deaths.
New York remains the U.S. epicenter with 343,705 cases and 27,284 deaths, according to a New York Times tracker.
Four states, Illinois, Florida, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, accounted for most of the rise in U.S. cases overnight, but cases rose in nine states, the data show.
What’s the latest medical news?
Gilead Sciences Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210293917/composite GILD +0.05% named five generic drug makers that will produce remdesivir, its experimental COVID-19 treatment. The nonexclusive voluntary licensing agreements are with Cipla Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/208260525/delayed IN:500087 -0.55% , Ferozsons Laboratories Ltd. PK:FEROZ +0.21% , Hetero Labs Ltd., Jubilant Life Sciences Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/205794894/delayed IN:530019 +0.28% and Mylan NV to manufacture remdesivir in 127 countries.
The Food and Drug Administration recently granted an emergency authorization to remdesivir in the U.S. as a treatment for severely ill COVID-19 patients; it has also been approved in Japan. Neither nation is part of these manufacturing agreements. China also isn’t listed.
Gilead said the licenses will be considered royalty-free until one of two things happens: the World Health Organization lifts its declaration of a public health emergency of international concern, or another drug or vaccine is approved.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, canceled a $55.5 million contract for respiratory face masks made with a small Virginia company that had no experience in the mask business and a parent that was in bankruptcy, the Associated Press reported.
The no-bid contract, with Panthera Worldwide LLC, was one of the largest mask orders signed by FMEA as it scrambled to find masks and other personal protective equipment.