Aug. 2 (UPI) — The coronavirus pandemic, which began in Asia last December and first spread to Europe, is now primarily ravaging Western Hemisphere nations with the United States, Brazil and Mexico in the top 3 for most deaths.
Late Friday, Mexico moved past Britain for the third spot and now has 47,472, behind No. 1 U.S. with 157,921 and No. 2 Brazil with 93,616. In addition, Peru is in ninth place with 30,265, Colombia 12th with 10,330 and Chile 14th with 9,533.
The pandemic passed 18 million cases Saturday and was closing in on 700,000 fatalities with 690,436. India has the fifth-most deaths with 37,403 behind Britain’s 46,201.
More than half of the worldwide deaths are concentrated in the Western Hemisphere, 367,0000, and nearly 11 million cases. Only 1 billion of the world’s 7.8 billion population live in the Western Hemisphere.
In Mexico, 784 deaths and a record 9,556 cases were reported late Saturday. The nation has climbed up the top 10 list the last several weeks.
In all, the country has reported 434,193 cases — which is in sixth place in the world — but health officials have warned that this is not an accurate count due to shortages of testing and under reporting of the virus.
On Friday, nine state governors called for the resignation of Mexican Health Secretary Hugo Lopez-Gatell, who has minimized the severity of the coronavirus pandemic
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also has been criticized and has refused to wear a mask.
“You know when I’m going to put on a mask? When there is no corruption. Then I’ll put on a mask and I’ll stop talking,” Obrador told reporters Friday.
Obrador has had a similar stance as Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, who also flouted wearing a face covering but has contracted the virus.
“I’ve just taken a blood exam,” he said in a Facebook Live video on Thursday. “I was a bit weak yesterday. They have also found a bit of an infection. I’m taking antibiotics now. It must have been those 20 days inside the house, we catch other things. I’ve caught mold, mold in my lungs. It must be that.”
The president tested positive for the virus on July 7. Eighteen days later, he announced via Twitter that he had tested negative.
His wife, Michelle Bolsonaro, has also tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement from the president’s press office.
The president said he has been taking hydroxychloroquine though medical studies have shown the drug is ineffective against the virus and might even be harmful.
On Saturday, Brazil reported 1,048 deaths, which was second to the U.S.’s 1,123, as well as 42,578 cases and a total of 2,708,876, which is second to the U.S.
South America has reported a total of 145,578 deaths compared with 220,528.
In North America the pandemic has largely been concentrated in the U.S. and Mexico.
Canada has reported 8,941 deaths, including six fatalities Saturday, as well as 287 cases.
On Friday, Canada extended its ban on visitors from the U.S. to Aug. 31.
In July, the two countries agreed to extend restrictions on non-essential travel to Aug. 20.
In addition, a ban exists between the United States and Mexico through the same date.
Like Mexico, Brazil and the U.S., the pandemic has been sweeping through India.
On Sunday, India reported 157 deaths compared with 852 on Friday as well as a record 54,865 cases.
India’s Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah said Sunday he tested positive for coronavirus.
“After getting the initial symptoms of the coronavirus, I got the test done and was found positive,” Shah posted on Twitter.
He said he has been admitted to a Delhi hospital.
Asian nations have reported 98,653 deaths but only 1,379 fatalities were announced Saturday and so far 557 Sunday. That includes No. 10 Iran with 208 deaths.
Though the numbers are down, Asian countries have reported a relative spike in cases.
China reported 49 cases Sunday but on Friday reported, the most since early April, with other days last week above 100. The country, which was the original epicenter of the virus, hasn’t reported a death since April 26. Its death toll is in 26th place with 4,634 as well as 84,385 cases.
Outside the mainland, Hong Kong has reported 115 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, the head of the communicable disease branch of the Department of Health Chuang Shuk-kwan said at a news conference Sunday. For 12 days in a row, Hong Kong has reported more than 100 new cases. Its death toll is 34.
Elsewhere, Japan recorded 1,540 new coronavirus cases Saturday, the country’s Ministry of Health announced Sunday. This is the third day in a row the nation has exceeded 1,000 cases.
About one-fifth of the latest cases were in Tokyo, 472, which is the highest in the nation’s capital.
Last week, Japan passed four-digits in deaths and has risen 1,011, including an additional 5 Saturday.
The Philippines also reported the largest single-day increase in cases, 5,032, since the pandemic began. The nation has a total of 103,185 as well as 2,059 deaths, including an additional 20.
South Korea reported 30 cases for a total of 14,366 and no deaths with a total of 301. On July 5, the nation reported 113 deaths, which was the highest since 146 on March 28.
Four European nations are in the top 10 in deaths.
Britain reported eight deaths Sunday, among the lowest since the pandemic, after a daily high of 1,172 and is in fourth place with 46,201. No. 6 Italy, which at one time was the world’s epicenter and a high of 919 deaths in one day, also reported eight, among the lowest since the outbreak. Also in the top 10 are No. 7 France and No. 8 Spain, who didn’t report any data.
Russia is in 11th place, reporting 70 deaths Sunday as well as 5,427 cases for a total of 850,870 in fourth place.
Some other European nations at one time were in the top 10 in deaths, but Belgium has dropped to 13th, Germany 15th and Netherlands 18th.
In all, a total of 203,598 on the continent have died from the virus.
Britain brought back coronavirus restrictions in parts of northern England on Thursday amid a spike in cases.
“I am worried about a second wave. I think you can see a second wave starting to roll across Europe,” U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told British broadcaster Sky News.
On Thursday, Britain reported 846 new positive cases — the highest number of daily infections since June 28. The increase Sunday was 743.
In Norway, 36 crew members on Norwegian Arctic cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen tested positive, Hurtigruten Cruises said in a statement Saturday.
Because of this, 387 passengers from two July expeditions on the cruise ship have been asked to self-quarantine.
The ship is currently docked in Tromso, Norway.
The nation hasn’t reported a death since July 17 to remain at 255.
Neighboring Sweden, which has been doing “herd immunity,” reported no data after nine deaths Friday for a total of 5,743 in 20th and 45 new cases.
Cases have been spiking in Australia, where there have been 208 deaths, including an additional seven Sunday, compared with 155 one week ago. The cases’ daily increase was 641.
The premier of Victoria announced a “state of disaster” and even stricter lockdown measures, a nightly curfew and virtually all trips outdoors banned. The region announced 671 new infections in a single day for a total of 11,557 and 123 deaths, a rise of seven.
“I’ve had the job of leading this state for almost six years — more than 2,000 days. And today is by far the hardest day — and the hardest decision,” Daniel Andrews said in a statement.
“Where you slept last night is where you’ll need to stay for the next six weeks.”
New Zealand, also in Oceania, has 22 deaths with the last fatality on May 28.
In Africa, deaths increased by 292 Saturday to 20,018, compared with 5,215 eight weeks ago and 17,808 one week ago. South Africa leads the continent with 8,153, including 148 Saturday followed by Egypt with 4,834, including a rise of 29.
South Africa reported the fifth-most most additional cases in the world, 10,107, behind the United States, India, Brazil and Colombia.