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Global Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 800,000

Protesters arrive at the Brooklyn Bridge after a march from the Barclays Center in New York, Aug. 21, 2020. Grieving families organized the "March for the Dead" to mourn American losses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus death toll topped 800,000 Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University, which also reported more than 23 million cases worldwide.

As it has for months, the U.S. continued to lead the world in COVID-19 deaths, with more than 175,800, and infections, with over 5.6 million.

Health officials in the U.S. believe the number of infections in America may be 10 times greater than reported because of a lack of testing and reporting.

Effect on people of color

The grim news came as an analysis by The Associated Press and the Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization covering the criminal justice system, found that while people of color make up just under 40% of the U.S. population, they accounted for approximately 52% of all the “excess deaths" through July.

The report defined excess deaths as the number of deaths above the typical number in the United States during the first seven months of the year, based on figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Saturday, U.S. President Donald Trump, without evidence, accused employees of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of working to slow testing of COVID-19 vaccines until after the November presidential election.

In a tweet, Trump said the slowdown was the work of the so-called “deep state,” a conspiracy theory suggesting that federal workers constitute a hidden government entrenched within the legitimate government.

Trump’s comments came after Reuters reported Thursday that a senior FDA official said he would step down if the Trump administration approved a vaccine before it was declared safe and effective.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Saturday on Capitol Hill that Trump had made a “dangerous statement” about FDA employees and added that Trump was “beyond the pale.”


— The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief, Mike Ryan, said Friday that the scale of the pandemic in Mexico was "under-recognized" and that testing there was limited.

He told a Geneva briefing that Mexico was testing about 3 people per 100,000, compared with about 150 tests per 100,000 people in the United States.

— Mexico had nearly 550,000 cases of the virus early Saturday and more than 59,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

— South Korea is imposing a nationwide ban on large gatherings, closing churches, nightclubs and beaches. In addition, fans will not be allowed at professional sports events.

Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said Saturday that the new nationwide restrictions, which begin Sunday, follow nine days of triple digit increases in coronavirus cases. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 332 new cases Saturday. The country has had more than 17,000 coronavirus infections and more than 300 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

— Several European countries have been reporting new surges of COVID-19 cases.

“There should be no confusion: Things are not going well,” Fernando Simón, Spain’s health emergency chief, said this week. “If we continue to allow transmission to rise, even if most cases are mild, we will end up with many in hospital, many in intensive care and many deaths.” The number of COVID-19 cases admitted to hospitals last week in Spain was double the admission numbers from the previous week.

Berlin experienced a COVID-19 outbreak after its schools opened. Hundreds of students and school personnel are now in quarantine.

French schoolchildren are set to return to school even though the country recorded 4,700 new cases Thursday and more than 4,500 Friday.

In Germany, officials warned Friday against travel to the Belgian capital of Brussels because of its high rate of coronavirus infections.

Britain said Friday that it planned to start regular, population-wide testing for COVID-19 by the end of the year to help suppress the spread of the virus. The country has the highest death toll in Europe, with more than 41,500 fatalities.

— The head of the World Health Organization said he hoped the coronavirus pandemic would end in under two years – less time than it took to stop the 1918 Spanish flu.

Speaking Friday at his regular briefing in Geneva, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the key to stopping the virus was for countries around the world to “pool our efforts.”

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