The global death toll from the coronavirus has surpassed one million, less than eight months after the first COVID-19-related death was reported in Wuhan, China, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
In the U.S., which has seen the highest number of infections and deaths of any individual country — more than 7.1 million and 205,000, respectively — experts have warned cases may soon spike again as children return to school and cold weather sets in, forcing many gatherings indoors.
“As we get into the fall and the winter, you really want the level of community spread to be as low as you possibility get it,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert told ABC News recently. “There’s certainly parts of the country that are doing well, but there are states that are starting to show an uptick in cases and even some increases in hospitalizations in some states. And, I hope not, but, we very well might start seeing increases in deaths.”
While many countries have raced to develop a vaccine, as well as infrastructure to quickly distribute any viable vaccinations, Fauci has previously warned life may not return to how we knew it pre-COVID until late 2021.
The WHO’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said spiking case numbers in the U.K., which has forced much of the country back into lockdown, should serve as a “wake-up call” to anyone experiencing “quarantine fatigue.”
“Weekly cases have now exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March,” Kluge said.
Experts have encouraged Americans to continue following recommended guidelines including mask wearing, social distancing and avoiding large crowds, while authorities will need to do their part to ramp up testing as infections surge.
In the U.S., seven states have shown a downward trend in new cases: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia. Twenty-three states have seen an uptick in cases, while 20 states have seen largely stable daily new case numbers from last week to this week.