Global coronavirus report: US adds nearly 500,000 cases in a week; Europe faces

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The United States has added nearly half a million people to its tally of coronavirus infections in the last seven days, as Donald Trump continues to insist the country is “rounding the turn” of the pandemic.

Nearly 500,000 people have contracted Covid-19 in the United States over the last seven days, as new cases and hospitalizations set records in the Midwest. The seven-day total is 491,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The US has the highest number of infections worldwide, with more than 8.7 million people who have contracted the virus. Its death toll, also the world’s largest, stands at more than 226,000.

But on Tuesday the White House included among a lists of accomplishments this year “Ending the Covid-19 pandemic”. A news release accompanying a 62-page report from the White House office of science and technology policy includes, among the “highlights” to be found in the report, the phrase “Ending the pandemic”.

The release, quoted in the Huffington Post, states: “From the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.”

Trump, facing a tough re-election battle on 3 November, reiterated his claim on Tuesday that the country is “rounding the turn” in the pandemic that has killed more than 226,000 people since erupting in March.

“We did the ventilators and now we’re doing all of the equipment and now we’re doing vaccines, we’re doing therapeutics. We’ve done a great job, and people are starting to see,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

Infections are also rising rapidly in several other countries, notably Europe and India.

France’s prime minister, Jean Castex, told MPs on Tuesday that hospital intensive care units will be saturated with Covid-19 patients by 11 November if nothing is done to stop the epidemic in the country.

President Emmanuel Macron announced that he would be giving a televised address on Wednesday evening amid reports that his government was considering placing the country under a month-long lockdown to stop the surge in cases. France recorded 33,417 new cases on Tuesday and 523 deaths – the most daily fatalities since April. The UK had its highest total since May.

Cases and deaths are also spiking in Italy where there were more protests on Tuesday at the government’s latest lockdown measures.

In Germany, chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to push for a “lockdown light” in crisis talks with regional leaders on Wednesday.

The proposed new restrictions would include closing restaurants and bars and putting strict limits on private and public gatherings while keeping schools, daycares and shops open, according to the best-selling Bild daily.

India’s tally of coronavirus cases stood less than 10,000 away from the grim milestone of 8 million, as 43,893 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours,…

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