Coronavirus cases in the US have popped back above the 30k/day market this week as the world rockets toward the next major milestone number: 30 million.
At the current rate of about 250k-300k new cases per day, we’re on track to hit it by Thursday.
India remains the undisputed global leader, as PM Narendra Modi scrambles to save his country’s faltering economy with a combination of aggressive testing, vaccine research and reopening schools, public transit and most of the economy, albeit with some lingering restrictions.
Fortunately, the pattern seen with COVID-19 cases wasn’t mirrored in the mortality rate, as many had feared. IHME, the university-adjacent research body that remains widely cited even if its forecasts have been more than a little bit off, is calling for 2,778,330 deaths worldwide by Jan 1.
Such an outcome would require the trend in global deaths to largely reverse. Right now, Johns Hopkins is reporting about 4,000 new deaths a day.
The global death toll stands at 928,576, per JHU.
Perhaps the biggest news overnight comes out of China, where local officials have imposed a localized lockdown after 2 Myanmar nationals were diagnosed with the virus. Some reports identified the migrants as “illegal immigrants” from just over the border. China’s record-keepers seem almost compulsively fixated on reporting new cases in foreigners with a surprising regularity. All 200,000 residents of the southwestern city of Ruili have been placed on lockdown, meaning they can only leave their homes for officially designated reasons, while the entire province of Yunan, which borders Myanmar, is on watch. People have been forbidden from entering or leaving Ruili until the lockdown is lifted.
“There is no natural border between Ruili (in Yunnan province) and Myanmar. Citizens speak the same language and visit each other very often,” one local was quoted as saying.
Authorities are also planning a mass COVID-testing drive, Al Jazeera reported, in keeping with China’s usual “wartime status” response to an outbreak, as the Global Times pointed out. Notably, China is using these new restrictions for “border management” with Myanmar, while hoping to “crack down on illegal immigrants.”
Interestingly, AJ pointed out that the city of Muse, Myanmar’s main gateway to China, which is known for sleazy streets, weapons, casinos and drugs, is situated nearby, and often draws Chinese from across the border to use drugs, gamble and solicit prostitutes.
Elsewhere in Asia, the AP reports that India has reported 600,000 new COVID-19 cases over the past week. With India on track to pass 5 million cases, becoming only the second country in the world to do so after the US. As if to mark the latest milestone, local officials announced that at least 17 members of the Indian parliament have tested positive for the virus.