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Sunday saw the largest single increase in cases of coronavirus according to World Health Organisation stats, with 183,020 positive cases recorded. The driver of this increase? Two of the biggest countries in the Americas: the USA and Brazil.

Over the last three weeks, there’s been a steady increase in new coronavirus cases, and June 8 saw an announcement from the WHO that the pandemic was “worsening” – that day saw a new case tally of 130,000. The trend then has been getting pushed by case growth mainly in the US and Brazil, and that’s been the case ever since. On Friday a warning came from Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that the world is entering a “new and dangerous phase” and he asked that all countries “focus on the basics”

“We call on all countries and all people to exercise extreme vigilance,” he said. 

The WHO released its 153rd situation report on June 21, showing that Brazil had confirmed cases totaling 54,771, a count that pushed the country over the one million mark, reported Jackson Ryan for cnet. In the same report, the US new case total was 36,617 with 4,743 reported deaths globally on the day. 

690 of those deaths were reported in the US that Sunday, and the nation’s total death toll is heading towards 120,000. Looking at the John Hopkins database, there have been more than 600,000 patients recovered so far.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, President Trump held a rally in which he dismissed testing for cases as a “double-edged sword”. He noted that testing had reached around 25 million people and he seemed to suggest he’s told his team to “slow the testing down”, due to the fact that “when you do testing to that extent … you’re going to find more cases. 

It’s undeniable that more testing will find more cases, but it’s vital to complete as part of the overall response to COVID-19 infections. The WHO, and other experts, have noted that widespread testing is one of the keys to getting the curve of the epidemic flattened and prevent more loss of life. Testing is an important component when countries want to get reopened and to get public health bodies tracking contacts and containing the virus.

Trump’s assistant Peter Navarro claimed the president was being “tongue-in-cheek” with his comments, in an interview with CNN. 

Contained in the same WHO report were warnings for European countries to be ready for autumn.  

“In the past month the number of European countries showing significant increases in cumulative incidence has more than tripled, from 6 to 21 countries,” said Hans Henri Kluge, the WHO regional director for Europe, during a briefing on Thursday. “Preparing for the autumn is a priority now at the WHO Regional office for Europe.”

“We are not out of the woods,” he said.

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

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