Coronavirus Cases Exceed 10 Million As Some Nations Struggle With Reopening

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide surpassed 10 million on Sunday as some countries battle to contain a resurgence in infections as they reopen.

According to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, more than 499,000 people have died from COVID-19 since the first cases were confirmed in January, while more than five million individuals have recovered. The true number of global infections is likely to be significantly higher due to testing limitations.

Nevertheless, the 10 million figures is still around double the number of severe influenza cases that are recorded every year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), although the COVID-19 death count is roughly similar to the number of annual influenza deaths.

The United States is the world's worst-hit country with more than 2.5 million confirmed cases and over 125,000 deaths.

Infections in the U.S. have risen in recent days, with 44,000 new cases reported on Friday—the biggest daily increase seen during the pandemic. The previous largest daily increase was reported on Thursday, when 40,000 new cases were recorded, The Guardian reported.

In Texas, one of the first states to begin easing coronavirus restrictions, authorities have reintroduced some measures to contain the spread of the disease, with Harris County, which includes Houston, increasing its COVID-19 status to the highest threat level, indicating that the outbreak there is "severe and uncontrolled."

Many experts have warned that surges in new infections are likely as nations and regions begin to reopen, with these outbreaks highlighting the difficulty of containing the disease before a vaccine becomes widely available.

A new outbreak has emerged in the southern state of Victoria, in Australia, a country widely considered to have implemented one of the most successful responses to the virus in the world, recording only around 7,600 infections and just over one hundred deaths out of a 25-million-strong population.

Nearly 50 daily cases of the disease were recorded in the city of Melbourne on Saturday—the highest number since April—with authorities considering the reintroduction of some restrictions.

According to a Reuters tally, North America, Latin America and Europe each account for around 25 percent of confirmed global COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, Asia and the Middle East, account for roughly 11 and 9 percent of the world's cases respectively.

COVID-19 testing
People in cars are lined up to be tested for COVID-19 as they make their way to a parking lot at Dodger Stadium amid the coronavirus pandemic on June 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Aside from the U.S., major centers of the pandemic now include India and Brazil, which accounted for more than a third of all new cases over the past week. India, the world's second most populous country with more than 1.3 billion people, reported its biggest spike in new COVID-19 cases for the sixth straight day, with the country's health ministry recording nearly 20,000 cases on Sunday.

Brazil, which has more than 1.3 million confirmed infections, the second highest in the world, among a population of around 210 million, reported a record 54,700 new cases on June 19.

The total number of global COVID-19 cases increased at a rate of about 1 to 2 percent per day over the past week, which is lower than the rate of increase seen in March, which surpassed 10 percent daily.