Covid-19 has already infected more than 80 million people and caused nearly 1.8 million deaths worldwide. New numbers for Russia, a battery of measures in South Africa, a peak in England: where do we stand on the global epidemic?
A new high in the UK
England, one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe by the pandemic, with more than 71,500 deaths, is facing an increase in infections from the new strain of the virus, which is between 50% and 74% more contagious. On Wednesday, Britain became the first country to approve AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is eagerly awaited because of its cost and storage temperature of between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.
Russia is the third most affected country in the world
Russia’s record has suddenly become heavier after the Russian Bureau of Statistics (Rosstat) adopted a new accounting system that more closely aligns with international standards. The new figure of 186,000 deaths places Russia third in the world as the most affected country, behind the U.S. (336,000 deaths) and Brazil (192,000 deaths).
New restrictions in South Africa
Faced with what President Cyril Ramaphosa called a particularly alarming rate of infection and more than one million cases, South Africa has decided to impose new restrictions. Among the most important measures is a ban on the sale of alcohol to reduce the number of hospitalizations due to traffic accidents or violence caused by excessive alcohol consumption. The wearing of a mask is mandatory throughout the country and the curfew has been extended to begin at 9 p.m. instead of 11 p.m.
Germany has the worst record
While 60,000 Germans have already been vaccinated, Germany is struggling to contain the virus. On Wednesday, the country recorded 1,129 Covid-19 related deaths within 24 hours, the highest number of deaths since the pandemic began. “The infection and death rates show that we are still far from normal,” Health Minister Jens Spahn said. Existing restrictions, including the closure of schools, non-essential stores, bars, and restaurants, are expected to continue beyond Jan. 10.
The United States has reached 20 million cases
Two vaccines (Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna) are currently licensed in the United States, and more than 2.1 million people have already received the first injection out of the 2 needed. That’s a far cry from Donald Trump’s goal of vaccinating 20 million people by the end of the year. The United States is the most affected country in the world, with 20 million cases.