Virus rate rockets across North America

The rate of infection rocketed in North America over the past week, though Europe remains the epicentre of the pandemic.

A weekly roundup from AFP’s specialised database:

Infections spiralling

The pandemic continued to rampage over the past week across the world with a record daily average of 579,000 new cases—a 10-percent increase from the previous week—according to an AFP tally on Friday at 1100 GMT.

With 284,000 new daily cases, Europe is still the most-affected region—far ahead of the US and Canada where new cases averaged 137,000 per day.

However, the rate of increase in Europe has stabilised at one percent thanks to lockdowns and curfews. In North America it has jumped by 40 percent.

The pandemic accelerated in nearly all regions of the world—by 12 percent in the Middle East, 12 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean, 10 percent in Africa and two percent in Asia.

Australia and Oceania is nearly virus-free with an average of just 13 new cases daily, a drop of nearly a quarter.

The number of confirmed cases only reflects a fraction of the actual number of infections, as different countries have different counting practices and levels of testing.

Biggest increases

Lithuania is the place where the pandemic is advancing the fastest with a 79-percent increase or 1,500 new cases per day.

Japan saw a pick-up of 58 percent with 1,100 cases per day, ahead of Serbia (50 percent, 2,600), Sweden (44 percent, 4,200), and Brazil (44 percent, 24,200).

Biggest drops

This week the biggest decrease in the infection rate was seen in Belgium with a 53-percent decline in new infections to 6,700 new cases per day.

The Netherlands’ tally dropped by 32 percent (to an average of 6,200 new cases per day), followed by the Czech Republic (-29 percent, 8,300 cases), Switzerland (-29 percent, 5,800 cases) and Slovakia (-23 percent, 1,900)—countries where restrictive measures were enforced in recent weeks.

US: Most new cases

By country, the US recorded the largest number of new infections this week with an average of 132,400 cases per day, ahead of India (45,700) and France (42,500).

While the number of new infections is on the decline in India (down one percent) and in France (down seven percent), it is getting worse in the United States (up 40 percent).

Italy comes next with 34,500 cases or 16 percent more, then Poland (25,000 cases, +19 percent).


The US mourned the most deaths in the past week with an average of 1,079 per day, ahead of France (560), India (544), Italy (485) and Mexico (459).

Global toll

The pandemic has cost the lives of at least 1,294,000 people since it first emerged in China late last year, out of more than 52.7 million confirmed infections.

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