The United States has officially gone over the 2 million mark in total cases of novel coronavirus infections.
According to figures published Thursday on the website of Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center, the U.S. now has 2,000,464 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 112,924 deaths, maintaining its position as the leading country with the total number of cases and deaths.
Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, predicted Wednesday night during an interview on CNN the nation’s death toll will nearly double by September.
“Most Americans are not ready to lock back down, and I completely understand that.” Dr. Jha said. “I understand people are willing to live alongside this virus. It means that between 800 and 1,000 Americans are going to die every single day.”
As many as 21 states have recorded their highest number of COVID-19 cases this week, with many concentrated across the western and southwestern states of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. The increases come amid a loosening of coronavirus restrictions in recent weeks, including the annual Memorial Day holiday that signals the start of the traditional summer vacation season.
The newest surge of infections has prompted local health officials in California to cancel the popular annual Coachella music and arts festival and the Stagecoach country music festival scheduled for October. Both outdoor festivals were originally scheduled to be held in April, but were postponed as the outbreak began spreading.
Experts also fear the ongoing nationwide protests sparked by the death of an African-American man in Minneapolis while in police custody will lead to another spike in COVID-19 infections. Protesters have been captured on video walking shoulder-to-shoulder, although many of them were wearing masks.
However, officials at the popular Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California, announced Wednesday they plan to begin a phased reopening of Disneyland and its sister theme park, Disney California Adventure, on July 17, the 65th anniversary of Disneyland’s opening. The entertainment giant also announced a phased reopening of its Orlando, Florida, theme parks, anchored by Walt Disney World, in mid-July.
The World Health Organization said Thursday the African continent now has more than 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 5,600 deaths. Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Africa regional director, told reporters during a briefing at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva the pandemic is “accelerating” and will continue to climb until an effective vaccine is developed. South Africa accounts for a quarter of all coronavirus cases with over 55,421 and 1,210 deaths.
WHO has already determined Latin America to be the world’s new hotspot for the coronavirus pandemic, with the latest figures raising the total number of cases in the region to well over 1 million, with over 70,000 deaths. With 772,416 confirmed cases, Brazil is the most-affected country in the region, and ranks only behind the United States on the overall global list of confirmed cases.
Following Brazil is Peru with more than 207,000 overall cases. Chile is in third place with 148,456 cases and Mexico is close behind with 129,184.
As of Thursday, there are a total of 7,394,801 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, with 417,022 deaths.