Latin America and the Caribbean surpassed Europe on Friday to become the region hardest-hit by coronavirus deaths, as India passed the somber step of recording over two million infections. The world's worst-hit region had reported 213,120 fatalities, 460 more than Europe, according to a tally based on official data.
Worldwide there have been more than 19 million cases and over 715,000 deaths from the virus first reported in China at the end of last year. The virus has flared up again in areas where it appeared to have been curbed, but it has steadily spread across sprawling territories in India and Africa.
India's cases have doubled in three weeks, reaching two million on Friday following a record daily jump of more than 60,000 new infections. It was only the third country after the United States and Brazil to surpass two million cases. Official figures show the world's second most populous country has also recorded 41,500 deaths.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government imposed one of the world's strictest lockdowns in late March, with tens of millions of migrant workers losing their jobs almost overnight. But with the economy in tatters, restrictions have been steadily eased.
Experts say the true number of cases and deaths are grossly under reported as the cause of death in the country of 1.3 billion people is rarely properly recorded.
The world is putting its hope that an effective vaccine will be available sooner rather than later. Up to 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses could be made available for poorer countries by 2021, announced Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
In Latin America, which is already the region with the largest number of cases at 5.3 million, deaths continue to soar. Over the last week, 44% of global deaths from COVID-19 - 18,300 out of 41,500 - happened in the region.
More than half, some 2.9 million, are in Brazil, which has also recorded 98,500 deaths among its 212 million people. Only the United States has been worse hit.
The second worst-affected country in Latin America, Mexico, passed 50,000 deaths on Thursday. In the United States, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said schools could reopen this fall if they meet certain criteria.
Schools in several US states have reopened for in person classes, but some have already been hit by large quarantines of students and staff following fresh outbreaks.
The US economy regained 1.8 million jobs in July, according to government data, and the unemployment rate fell to 10.2 per cent. But with COVID-19 cases spiking in several states economists raised concerns that the labor market could make a turn for the worse.