Global cases have surged to nearly 5.7 million, with more than 354,000 deaths, and the worrying acceleration of the disease in South America has marked the continent as the new hotspot.
“Don’t start leapfrogging over the recommendations of some of the guidelines because that’s really tempting fate and asking for trouble,” Anthony Fauci, one of the top US health advisers, told CNN.
Nearly 1.7 million Americans are known to have been infected with the disease, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s far-right president and a Trump ally, has slammed stay-at-home orders and played down the threat of the virus, saying the economic fallout of lockdowns causes more damage than the disease itself.
Peru logged a record 6,154 new cases in a 24-hour period, with its virus response coordinator Pilar Mazzetti warning that “difficult days, difficult weeks are coming.”
Worried relatives outside the Sabogal Hospital in the capital Lima were unable to enter to see loved ones suffering from COVID-19, with some begging the guards for information.
“They don’t say anything, they don’t call, they don’t explain anything… What is he suffering from?”
– France bans controversial drug –
While scientists around the world are racing to develop a vaccine, parallel trials are under way to test treatments for COVID-19 symptoms.
France said Wednesday it was banning the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment after the World Health Organization suspended its testing over fears of dangerous side effects.
Health authorities in Brazil and Senegal, and India’s top biomedical research body have said they will continue to use it for COVID-19 patients, but the US Food and Drug Administration has warned of serious side effects and poisoning.
Didier Roualt, a French infectious disease specialist, insists he has successfully treated dozens of patients with hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin.
He has rejected a comprehensive study in The Lancet medical journal published last week which found that hydroxychloroquine actually increased the risk of death.
– Fans at the French Open? –
As South America and parts of Africa and Asia scramble to deal with their worsening outbreaks, Europe has taken tentative steps to reopen economies and ease lockdowns as new infections slow.
It follows other emergency measures introduced around the world to rescue economies shattered by the virus, which has also shredded the global sports calendar and left fans wondering what events will look like.
There was a reminder, however, of the threat still posed by the coronavirus in England, where the globally popular Premier League announced that four more people at its football clubs had tested positive.
– ‘We are starving’ –
Far from the mega-rich sports leagues of the world, millions are simply trying to survive, having lost their livelihoods during the lockdowns.
Now many migrants workers are left with few options, as the government called for locals to be favored for jobs as the economy emerges from the crisis.
“As foreign nationals, we are contributing so much to the South African economy, it’s totally unfair from the South African government not to help people living on its own soil,” said Collin Makumbirofa, a 41-year-old Zimbabwean who has been living in Johannesburg for more than a decade.
“It’s very tough, we are starving. Life has become unbearable here.”