Asia becomes second region to surpass 10 million coronavirus cases; US sets record

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Asia surpassed 10 million novel coronavirus infections on Saturday -- the second-heaviest regional toll in the world, Reuters reported. After Latin America, Asia accounts for about one-fourth of the global Covid-19 caseload of 42.1 million. With over 163,000 deaths, the region accounts for some 14 per cent of the global Covid-19 toll, the report said.

It further said that within the region, South Asia led by India is the worst affected, with nearly 21 per cent of the reported global coronavirus cases and 12 per cent of deaths. This contrasts with countries like China and New Zealand that have crushed infections and Japan, where coronavirus had been stubbornly entrenched but not accelerating.

India is the worst-hit country in the world after the United States, although infections are slowing in the world's second-most populous country.

Reuters said that its tally is based on official reporting by countries. However, the true numbers of cases and deaths are likely much higher, experts say, given deficiencies in testing and potential underreporting in many countries.

US CORONAVIRUS CASES HIGHEST ON FRIDAY

The novel coronavirus caseload in the United States (US) touched a record high of more than 83,000 infections in a single day, according to the Johns Hopkins University's tally. The total US caseload reported on the university's site on Friday was 83,757, topping the 77,362 cases reported on July 16.

Meanwhile, the toll due to coronavirus has mounted to 223,995.

In view of the rising number of Covid-19 cases, Dr Robert Scoggins, a pulmonologist at the Kootenai Health hospital in Coeur d'Alene was quoted by AP as saying: "We've essentially shut down an entire floor of our hospital. We've had two double rooms. We've bought more hospital beds...Our hospital is not built for a pandemic."

In the southern Idaho city of Twin Falls, St Luke's Magic Valley Medical Center said it would no longer accept children because it is overwhelmed with coronavirus patients. Except for newborns, all under age 18 will be sent 128 miles (206 km) away in Boise.

Among those in northern Idaho joining Scoggins at a meeting of Idaho's Panhandle Health District was board member Walk Kirby.

"People are dying, they're going to keep dying and catching this stuff," Kirby said. "How many people won't wear a mask? The same people that won't get vaccinated for it."

Moreover, Utah's Governor Gary Herbert proclaimed on Friday to be "a record day for Utah - but not a good one" as Covid-19 cases reached an all-time high for the state.

"Up until now, our hospitals have been able to provide good care to all Covid and non-Covid patients who need it," he was quoted as saying. "But today we stand on the brink. If Utahans do not take serious steps to limit group gatherings and wear masks, our healthcare providers will not have the ability to provide quality care for everyone who needs it."

The seven-day rolling average for new daily Covid-19 cases in the US surpassed 61,140 on Thursday, compared with 44,647 two weeks ago. The record was reached on July 22 when the rolling average was 67,293 in the midst of a summer outbreak driven largely by surges of the virus in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California.

On Saturday, the US reported 8,469,976 new coronavirus cases, an increase of 82,929 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 946 to 223,393.

DONALD TRUMP DOWNPLAYS CORONAVIRUS AGAIN

With the upcoming November 3 elections, US President Donald Trump and his rival Joe Biden have been debating over a host of issues, coronavirus pandemic being one of them.

Even as the US reported a record high Covid-19 tally, President Donald Trump promised supporters that the pandemic will end soon, a report in Yahoo.com said.

Moreover, addressing a few thousand supporters at a tightly packed outdoor rally in North Carolina, Donald Trump had said that America was turning the corner in the fight against Covid-19 and mocked Biden's more cautious campaigning style.

"President Trump said we're rounding the corner, it's going away, we're learning to live with it. They are quotes. But as I told him last night, we're not learning to live with it. We're learning to die with it. This is a dark winter ahead," Biden had earlier said while responding to Trump.

(With inputs from Reuters and Associated Press)

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