Global COVID-19 total tops 18 million, plans gel for virus-origin probe

Aug. 4, 2020

The global pandemic total has jumped past 18 million, driven by steady large-scale outbreaks in populous countries, such as India, Brazil, and the United States, according to a news report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota.

It took only four days for the world's COVID-19 total to jump from 17 million to 18 million, and the total continued to climb to 18.2 cases, with almost 700,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that after its emergency committee met for the fourth time it unanimously agreed that the outbreak still warrants a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) under the International Health Regulations.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, accepted the group's recommendation. The extension comes about six months after the WHO first declared the PHEIC on Jan 30, when there were fewer than 100 cases outside of China. When it met for the second time in April, cases had climbed to 3 million.

At a WHO media briefing, Tedros said that, since the April meeting, cases have increased fivefold and deaths have tripled. He said the pandemic has had a ripple effect on a range of other diseases and has interrupted health services, ranging from immunization to mental health support.

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