Another week, another record in pain and suffering. For the fourth week since the start of July, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced another global high in total cases of COVID-19 worldwide. The United States and Latin America are again driven the irresistible global spread of this highly-infectious disease.
On Friday, WHO reported almost 300,000 new COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours -- the largest single-day increase ever. The previous largest toll was recorded only last week, on July 24, when 284,196 cases were reported in 24 hours.
The previous WHO record for new cases in a single-day was 259,848 on July 18. And previous to July 18, the previous global high in a 24-hour period was recorded on July 4 with 212,326 cases. The previous WHO record for new cases in a 24-hour period before this was 189,077 on June 28.
As of July 31, the Americas had the highest number of cases at 171,946. Southeast Asia reported the second-highest at 60,113. Next in line was Europe, with 25,241, according to WHO.
As of Friday, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 infections worldwide came to some 17.7 million and some 670,000 deaths. WHO confirms the U.S. still has the worst outbreak in the world, with some 4.5 million cases and at least 152,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. On Thursday, new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. skyrocketed by more than 67,000, a day after topping 70,000 for the first time.
Top WHO officials last week warned there's no question of returning to the "old normal" as the pandemic grows to almost unmanageable proportions in the U.S. and poorer countries.
"It's completely understandable that people want to get on with their lives, but we will not be going back to the old normal," said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last week.
WHO noted even though cases remain high in the U.S. and other parts of the world, it's still possible to bring the pandemic under control.
The increase in global cases in just one week is astounding. As of July 24, the U.S. had 4.2 million cases and 148,000 deaths to lead the world in both categories. Behind the U.S. in total cases were Brazil (2.3 million), India (1.3 million), Russia (800,000) and South Africa (422,000), Mexico, Peru, Chile, Spain and the United Kingdom.
On July 11, WHO reported 143,000 of the world's 230,000 new cases (or 62%) occurred in North and South America. Of this total, 40% or 57,400 new cases came from the U.S.