According to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, coronavirus infections in the US have surpassed the grim 9.4 million mark, with a staggering 1 million cases being added to the ever-growing tally only 14 days after hitting 8 million. This is the steepest rise in 1 million cases since the onset of the pandemic in the US, as multiple states report record-breaking daily case counts. However, the latest flood of cases appear to be concentrated among patients in the 12-30 age group that are asymptomatic, which then transmit the virus to the older age groups.
On Friday, daily COVID-19 cases reached yet another record-high, as health officials reported a staggering 91,744 new cases across the country. Even more alarming however, is that the top five record-breaking daily case counts have all occurred with the last 8 days, suggesting that the pandemic is accelerating at an alarming pace. Likewise, the rise in coronavirus cases is closely followed by the rise in hospitalizations, and then deaths. Thus far, there have been over 230,000 deaths as a result of the virus, and as former Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen notes to CNN, that amounts to a COVID-19 diagnosis every second, and a coronavirus-related death every two minutes.
In the meantime, as the second wave of the coronavirus envelopes the US, the pandemic situation in Europe is also taking a turn for the worse. On Sunday, the total number of coronavirus cases in Europe reached 10 million, with the final 5 million infections occurring in only a mere month. With Europe accounting for 10% of the world’s population, it currently has 22% of the global case count of 46.3 million infections. Likewise, the region has recorded more than 269,000 deaths, which translates to a staggering 23% of the global death toll.
As the unprecedented increase in coronavirus cases reach new highs each passing day, European governments are once again reverting to stringent lockdowns and curfews in order to gain some sort of control over the pandemic. Thus far, Germany, France, and the UK have announced nationwide lockdowns that will last at least a month, while Italy and Spain have both decided to tighten restrictions. However, one Central European country has decided to take a different approach to mitigating the pandemic.
The small European country of Slovakia has unveiled a new campaign that will test all of its 5.5 million population for COVID-19. Using inexpensive antibody tests, the country will use a two-stage process, which has the likelihood to succeed based on a prior pilot testing drive that saw 90% turnout. During the pilot test, nearly 4% of the 5,600 tests conducted came back positive, suggesting that a nationwide testing campaign would prove to be successful.
Slovakia’s approach is unique because it makes it the first country to find an alternative to nationwide lockdowns and restrictions like the ones being imposed in the UK and France. However, the campaign will probably come with its own set of obstacles, and it is unlikely that the government will be able to test everyone in the country. Already, the Slovakian government is running short on medical personnel to efficiently conduct nationwide COVID-19 testing, despite offering a last-minute bonus for new volunteers to run testing stations.
Information for this briefing was found via Johns Hopkins University, CNN, and Reuters. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.