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World Nears 100 Million COVID-19 Cases

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 22: A sign reading 'COVID-19 High-Risk Area' is posted on a downtown sidewalk amid a surge in coronavirus infections on January 22, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. One hundred sidewalk warning signs have been…

The world is on the verge of reaching 100 million COVID-19 infections, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center statistics. More than 2 million people have died from the virus.

The coronavirus continues to create an unyielding and staggering path of illness and death across the United States. Johns Hopkins reported early Sunday that the U.S. has nearly 25 million COVID infections, with more than 417,000 deaths. Both tolls are the world’s highest.

India follows the U.S. caseload with 10.6 million infections and more than 153,000 deaths. Brazil has nearly 9 million cases and more than 216,000 deaths.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said COVID vaccines could bring the global pandemic under control, with vaccinations under way in more than 50 countries. However, all but two of those countries are high- or middle-income countries.

"We must work together as one global family to ensure the urgent and equitable rollout of vaccines,” he said.

For the first time since Nov. 18, New Zealand health officials Sunday began to investigate a probable case of community-spread coronavirus.

Community spread occurs when a person contracts the coronavirus without any known contact with a sick person or travel to an affected area.

With a tough lockdown, New Zealand had nearly eliminated the coronavirus, with new cases found among travelers returning home and quarantining. As of Sunday, there were 79 such cases. The new variants from Britain and South Africa, however, have been found among those cases, raising concerns of community spread returning.

New Zealand does not expect to have most of its population vaccinated against the coronavirus until the second half of this year.

On Saturday, the local government in Hong Kong said it locked down one of the territory’s most heavily populated areas to complete mandatory COVID-19 testing of its entire population.

Hong Kong’s Special Administrative Region government said the lockdown was imposed in parts of the Jordan District to test nearly 10,000 residents within 48 hours, paving the way for residents to go to their jobs Monday.

Authorities said 3,000 government workers had been deployed to the district, where officials said 162 cases of the coronavirus had been confirmed in the first 20 days of the new year.

Authorities also locked down Temple Street, one of Hong Kong’s busiest night markets.

The shutdown comes as Hong Kong grapples with its fourth wave of COVID-19 infections in two months.

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