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In the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, charts showing the countries hit hardest by the disease included the U.S., along with European countries, including France, Spain and Italy. Now, more than four months later, the U.S. remains No. 1 in the world for cases, only now it tops a list that includes almost all developing countries, according to an internal government document obtained by Yahoo News.
A chart in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention document dated July 28 shows the United States falling further behind Europe in its handling of the coronavirus. The chart, which lists the countries with the highest daily average of new cases over the last seven days, shows that the U.S. is first, with an average of 66,079 new cases reported daily over the last week, followed by Brazil with 45,665 and then India, South Africa and Colombia.
The following countries round out the list: Mexico, Russia, Argentina, Peru, Bangladesh, Iraq and Iran. Russia, the only European country listed, is still doing better than the U.S. at around 5,800 new cases a day.
The U.S. fares slightly better in its death rate over the last seven days, ranking sixth among the dozen countries on the chart, but still accruing an average of 894 deaths per day (the U.S. mortality rate is worse when viewed since the start of the pandemic; then the U.S. moves to second place, behind Peru).
The U.S. has had more than 140,000 deaths due to the virus, the most of any nation in the world.
In the spring, the U.S. and a number of European countries contended with similar rates of cases and deaths as the virus pounded Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. But Europe dramatically lowered the rate of infection and began opening back up, including allowing summer travel. U.S. residents, however, are still banned from most of the continent — although they can visit Ireland and the United Kingdom if they observe a 14-day quarantine.
According to World Health Organization tracking published Tuesday, all of Europe had 26,311 new cases reported over the previous 24-hour period, less than half the U.S.’s recent daily totals.
On Tuesday, German officials expressed concerns about a possible second wave due to 500 new cases per day being reported over the last two weeks, or less than 1 percent of the recent average U.S. total. Even when factoring in Germany’s smaller population — about one-quarter of the U.S.’s 328 million — the per capita difference is vast.
“We don’t know yet if this is the beginning of a second wave but of course it could be,” said Lothar Wieler, head of Germany’s infectious disease agency, who attributed the rising number of cases to increased social contact at parties and the workplace and encouraged wearing masks. “But I am optimistic that if we follow the hygiene rules we can prevent it, it’s up to us.”
On Monday, President Trump stated that while he encouraged social distancing he also wanted states to open up, even though experts attribute the country’s problems to too many states opening too soon. A poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released Sunday showed that just 32 percent of Americans approved of his handling of the pandemic.
On Monday evening Trump retweeted a video, later removed from social media services, that stated there was a cure for COVID-19 and that masks were not effective. The president was asked about it during a briefing Tuesday.
“Mr. President, the woman that you said was a ‘great doctor’ in that video that you retweeted last night said that ‘masks don’t work’ and there is a cure for COVID-19, both of which health experts say is not true,” said CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins. “She’s also made videos saying that doctors make medicine using DNA from aliens and that they are trying to create a vaccine to make you immune from becoming religious —”
Trump cut her off, saying he had seen the doctor on television and found her to be “very impressive.”
“I thought her voice was an important voice,” Trump said, “but I know nothing about her.” He then ended the briefing.
Jana Winter contributed reporting to this story.
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