The death toll from coronavirus in the US has reached 150,000 – by the far the highest in the world, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
The bleak milestone comes amid signs that the nation’s outbreak is beginning to stabilise in the Sun Belt but heating up in the Mid-west, fuelled largely by young adults who are visiting bars, restaurants and gyms again.
The surge has been accompanied by a burgeoning outbreak of misinformation and conspiracy theories about supposed cures and the effectiveness of masks.
Brazil has the second highest toll with over 88,000 deaths, followed by the UK at 46,000.
Johns Hopkins put the nation’s confirmed infections at nearly 4.4 million, also the highest in the world, though the real numbers in the US and around the globe are believed to be higher because of limits on testing and the many mild cases that have gone undetected or unreported.
Rapid coronavirus test would be a life-changer
A rapid test that can detect coronavirus within minutes will be a “life-changer”, and may be available before the end of the year, an expert has said.
The current tests being used in the UK are PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, and while most people get their results within 24 hours, it can take up to 72 hours.
But David Nabarro, who is one of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) special envoys on Covid-19, says a test that delivers results in minutes is essential in order to live with the virus.
He told the PA news agency lockdown is a “crude” way of dealing with the spread and more sophisticated measures are needed.
Dr Nabarro said: “The best way to deal with this virus is to identify people with the disease really quickly, and to isolate them, to find their contacts and isolate them, so interrupting transmission.
“And then breaking the chain of transfer from person to person, and then to break the clusters that build up, and to suppress outbreaks.
“Now the only way you can do that is by knowing where the virus is.
“And the only way to know where the virus is, is to have a very rapid point-of-contact test that is reliable.”