Global look at Covid-19: What you need to know about the pandemic right now

07 April 2021 - 14:39
By Reuters
Covid-19 infections are raging in Brazil and India, where the number of cases are the second and third highest worldwide after the US. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF.COM Covid-19 infections are raging in Brazil and India, where the number of cases are the second and third highest worldwide after the US. Stock photo.

Brazil deaths on track to pass US

Brazil’s brutal surge in Covid-19 deaths will soon surpass the worst of a record January wave in the US, scientists forecast, with fatalities climbing for the first time above 4,000 in a day on Tuesday as the outbreak overwhelms hospitals.

The South American country’s overall death toll trails only the US outbreak, with nearly 337,000 killed, according to health ministry data, compared with more than 555,000 dead in the US.

However, with Brazil’s health-care system at breaking point, the country could exceed total US deaths, despite having a population two-thirds that of the US, two experts told Reuters.

India posts record cases

India's second wave of infections continued to swell as it reported a record 115,736 new cases on Wednesday, a 13-fold increase in just over two months.

The federal government has asked states to decide on local curbs to control the spread of the coronavirus, but has so far refused to impose a national lockdown after the last one in 2020 devastated its economy.

The total number of cases since the first recorded infection in India just over a year ago now stands at 12.8 million, making it the third worst hit country after the US and Brazil.

Japan’s Osaka cancels Olympic torch run

Japan’s western region of Osaka on Wednesday cancelled Olympic torch events scheduled across the prefecture as record infections prompted its government to declare a medical emergency.

Health authorities fear a virus variant is unleashing a fourth wave of infections just 107 days before the Tokyo Olympics begin, with a vaccination drive still at an early stage.

The prefecture reported 878 new infections on Wednesday, a second straight day of record numbers. Severe cases have filled about 70% of hospital beds in the region.

UK begins rollout of Moderna vaccine

Britain began rolling out Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine in Wales on Wednesday and expects to be using it in the rest of the UK in the coming days in a boost to the country’s health system after supplies of shots started to slow.

Moderna will become the third vaccine to be used in the UK after the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer jabs and comes as the supply of shots from AstraZeneca starts to slow due to manufacturing issues, including at a site in India.

The UK has vaccinated 31.6 million people with a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and administered 5.5 million second doses. It will soon have vaccinated half its total population.

Third of survivors suffer neurological or mental disorders

One in three Covid-19 survivors suffered a brain or psychiatric disorder within six months, suggesting the pandemic could lead to a wave of mental and neurological problems, scientists said on Tuesday.

Researchers who conducted the analysis said it was not clear how the virus was linked to psychiatric conditions such as anxiety and depression, but these were the most common diagnoses among the 14 disorders they studied.

Post-Covid-19 cases of stroke, dementia and other neurological disorders were rarer, the researchers said, but were still significant.