Global coronavirus cases surpassed 5 million late Wednesday, with Latin America overtaking the United States and Europe in the past week to report the largest portion of new daily cases globally.
More than 100,000 coronavirus cases were reported to the World Health Organization in the previous 24 hours, "the most in a single day since the outbreak began," Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday.
"We still have a long way to go in this pandemic," he said at a news conference in Geneva. "In the last 24 hours, there have been 106,000 cases reported to WHO — the most in a single day since the outbreak began."
It represents a new phase in the virus’ spread, which initially peaked in China in February, before large-scale outbreaks followed in Europe and the United States.
Latin America accounted for around a third of the 91,000 cases reported earlier this week. Europe and the United States each accounted for just over 20%.
A large number of those new cases came from Brazil, which recently surpassed Germany, France and the United Kingdom to become the third-largest outbreak in the world, behind the United States and Russia.
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Cases in Brazil are now rising at a daily pace second only to the United States.
A protest was held on Wednesday in front of the White House in Washington DC against U.S. president Donald Trump's management of the COVID-19 crisis that has already claimed the lives of more than 93,000 people in the country.
During the protest, dozens of vehicles took part in a funeral procession demonstration and about 50 mock body bags were placed on the foothpath leading to the White House to symbolize the losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first 41 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Wuhan, China, on Jan. 10 and it took the world until April 1 to reach its first million cases. Since then, about 1 million new cases are reported every two weeks, according to a Reuters tally.
At more than 5 million cases, the virus has infected more people in under six months than the annual total of severe flu cases, which the World Health Organization estimates is around 3 million to 5 million globally.
The pandemic has claimed over 326,000 lives, though the true number is thought to be higher as testing is still limited and many countries do not include fatalities outside of hospitals. Over half of the total fatalities have been recorded in Europe.
Despite the continued increase in cases, many countries are opening schools and workplaces following weeks of lockdown that have stemmed the spread.
Financial markets have also been boosted slightly by promising early results from the first U.S. vaccine trial in humans.