Brazil has reported more than 1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus as World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the pandemic is accelerating.
“We are in a new and dangerous phase,” Tedros said at a news conference in Geneva Friday, and he warned that lockdown measures are still needed to halt the virus’ spread.
Tedros said more than 150,000 new cases worldwide were reported Thursday, the largest one-day increase since the outbreak began in December. Significant numbers of the new cases were in South Asia and the Middle East.
As of Friday night, there were more than 8.6 million cases worldwide, a quarter of which were in the United States, the world leader with more than 2.2 million, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics.
Brazil is next with more than 1 million. Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has dismissed COVID-19 as being nothing more than a “little flu” and said anyone worried about the virus is being neurotic. He has encouraged Brazilian businesses to reopen and states to lift their lockdowns.
Brazil’s government Friday announced new guidelines for meatpackers after a spike in cases at food plants, including keeping workers one meter apart. However, labor representatives say the plans do not offer enough protection for workers.
Experts at the University of Washington's School of Medicine told the U.S.-based broadcasting network CBS News that according to their model, Brazil’s death toll is poised to surpass that of the United States as early as next month.
Johns Hopkins reports a U.S. death toll of more than 119,000, and a death toll of nearly 50,000 for Brazil.
In the United States, the Oklahoma Supreme Court Friday rejected a request to require everyone attending President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa Saturday to wear a face mask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The state court ruled Friday that several local residents who made the request did not have a clear legal right to seek such a mandate.
The Trump campaign says organizers of the rally are providing masks and hand sanitizer to all who want them and are checking the temperature of all attendees to guard against the spread of the virus.
The rally venue holds 19,000 people, and local officials say crowds of 100,000 people or more are expected in the area around the rally.
A new United Nations report says more and more children are victims of hate, bullying, and violence online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the experts, without access to support networks such as the educators, friends and extended families they usually find at school, some children have been stranded in abusive homes with no place to turn for help as schools are locked down to control the spread of COVID-19.
“There is never any excuse for violence against children," WHO chief Tedros said.
In Germany, officials said Friday the number of coronavirus cases linked to an outbreak at a slaughterhouse has surpassed 800.
In Iran, officials say regular Friday prayers will resume in Tehran mosques next week despite a jump in the number of coronavirus cases over the past few weeks.
Iran had reported more than 200,200 confirmed cases and nearly 9,400 deaths as of Friday, according to trackers at Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus research center.
In Canada, with just more than 100,000 cases, officials said the COVID-19 outbreak appears to be slowing.
While the 13 Canadian provinces and territories are starting to reopen their economies, major restrictions are still in place in the country’s two biggest cities, Montreal and Toronto.
In California, people are now required to wear a face mask in most indoor and outdoor settings, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered Thursday.
“Science shows that face coverings and masks work,” Newsom said. “They are critical to keeping those who are around you safe, keeping businesses open and restarting our economy.”
Megan Duzor, Wayne Lee and Fern Robinson contributed to this report.