US passes six million coronavirus cases as WHO warns of frontline ‘burnout’

More than 183,000 deaths have officially been recorded

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Sunday 30 August 2020 20:49
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The US has reached another grim milestone with the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus passing six million on Sunday, according to a count by NBC News.

While nationally, metrics on new cases, deaths, hospitalisations and the positivity rates of tests are all declining, the Midwest has emerged as the latest hotspot.

Across the country there were more than 47,000 new cases and almost 1,000 additional deaths reported on Sunday.

The World Health Organisation warns that more than eight months into the pandemic the seemingly unending onslaught is taking its toll on healthcare workers and first responders.

“The front line responders working tirelessly to save lives during the pandemic deserve time to rest,” a statement from the WHO said on Sunday. “Talk to your colleagues or supervisor if you think you may be experiencing burnout.”

In the US, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota recently saw record one-day increases in new cases.

Montana and Idaho have reported record numbers of currently hospitalised Covid-19 patients.

Many of the new cases in Iowa are in the counties that are home to the University of Iowa and Iowa State University, which are holding some in-person classes. Colleges and universities around the country have seen outbreaks after students returned to campus, forcing some to switch to online-only learning.

Infections have also risen after an annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota drew more than 365,000 people from across the country from 7-16 August. The South Dakota health department said 88 cases have been traced to the rally.

Families are being advised to think carefully before gathering together over the Labor Day weekend holiday after experts noted a trend for infections arising from smaller gatherings, USA Today reports.

The US continues to struggle with testing — the number of people tested fell in recent weeks.

Many health officials and at least 33 states have rejected the new Covid-19 testing guidance issued by the Trump administration last week that said those exposed to the virus and without symptoms may not need testing.

Public health officials believe the US needs to test more frequently to find asymptomatic Covid-19 carriers to slow the spread of the disease.

While the US has the most recorded infections in the world, it ranks tenth based on cases per capita, with Brazil, Peru and Chile having higher rates of infection, according to a Reuters tally.

The US also has the most deaths in the world at over 183,000 and ranks 11th for deaths per capita, exceeded by Sweden, Brazil, Italy, Chile, Spain, the UK, Belgium and Peru.

Globally 843,000 people have died according to Johns Hopkins University data.

With reporting from Reuters

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