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Is the pandemic under control? Yes. Over? No.
The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

As control measures lift, the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow. Here are the global hot spots.

Mohammad Aamir Khan, an ambulance driver, changes his personal protective equipment as a woman who died of the novel coronavirus is cremated in Delhi on June 11. (Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

Across continents, pandemic-weary communities are emerging from months of shutdowns and restrictions as politicians and businesses urge people to return to work. Lives have been upended, bank accounts have suffered, and many people are craving a return to old routines.

But the novel coronavirus persists. Measured in terms of new confirmed cases — figures that experts agree are underestimated — it is surging rather than dwindling.

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t ending — it’s surging

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization reported the highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic: 136,000 new infections on June 7. (The tally by Johns Hopkins University has slightly different figures.) Days later, the United States surpassed 2 million confirmed cases, cementing its place at the top of the confirmed infections ranking.

Overall, more than 7.3 million people worldwide have tested positive for the coronavirus and more than 413,000 people have been confirmed to have died of covid-19. And those are just the infections and deaths we know about.

Even if the recent surge in confirmed numbers may be due in part to increases in the availability of testing, the virus is nowhere near going away, experts say. As early hot spots begin to recover, the epicenters of the pandemic shift. Amid a widespread relaxation in restrictions, from Israel to Iran to South Korea to China, new clusters have formed.

Mapping the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Three months after much of the world shut down, the United States, Brazil, Russia and India are reporting the highest numbers of new daily cases.

United States

What began in Washington and New York states has come for Arizona, Florida and Texas. Stay-at-home orders helped slow the initial spread as testing lagged. But states have largely lifted measures, and on Sunday, both Alabama and South Carolina hit single-day records in new confirmed cases. Hospitals in Houston are reporting record numbers of patients.

Public health experts warn that states moving to reopen too fast could lead to fresh round of infections. Numbers so far indicate that has been the case. Coupled with the masses of people who have marched together in protests against racism and police violence, the coming weeks could see further increases.

Tracking the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, state by state

Being outdoors at a distance from others, wearing a mask and washing hands, scientists say, are among the best preventive measures. At the same time, experts are already warning about the winter, when the flu hits hospitals, schools and workplaces, compounding stress on the system.

More than 100,000 Americans have died. This is how they lived and what was lost.

Brazil

The virus spread through Asia. Then it surged in Europe. Now Latin America is the center of the global pandemic, according to the WHO. Even countries in South America that were quick to shut down, such as Peru and Chile, are seeing infections rise as they ease their restrictions.

But Brazil — where the federal government, led by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, has downplayed the virus — never went into a complete lockdown. Instead, governors and mayors at their own discretion closed schools and shops as the virus kept expanding its reach and the president kept belittling its severity. What began as a cluster among rich Brazilians with the resources to travel has turned into a crisis hitting neglected poor and indigenous Brazilians hardest.

As coronavirus kills indigenous people in the Amazon, Brazil’s government goes missing

Now, as the above graph shows, Brazil’s outbreak is still widening. The country has confirmed more than 42,000 covid-19 deaths and more than 867,000 cases.

Russia

In mid-March, Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted that the coronavirus, then wreaking havoc across Europe, wasn’t a problem for him back at home. Months later, Russia has the third-highest number of confirmed cases and among the fastest-growing outbreaks worldwide.

In Russia’s pandemic struggles, even Putin couldn’t speed bonuses to health workers

Given trajectories elsewhere, that’s not much of a surprise: Russia’s shutdowns, which it is easing, helped to slow but not stop the virus’s spread. But what is “difficult to understand,” WHO expert Mike Ryan said during a briefing last week, is how Russia has maintained such a low mortality rate — just over 7,000 confirmed deaths — in tandem with rising infections. Doctors and nurses have been speaking out, despite the danger of doing so in the repressive state, about dire conditions in hospitals.

In a rebuke to the official narrative, Russian officials last week issued revisions that raised some death tolls for April and May. The virus, after all, is immune to Putin’s usual tactics for maintaining control.

India

India imposed one of the world’s strictest shutdowns on its more than 1.3 billion people in March. By May, the country started to lift restrictions.

The largest lockdown in the world is ending. India is bracing for what comes next.

But even with strict restrictions in place, India’s case numbers continued to rise. That’s because India hasn’t yet been able to flatten its curve, with the shutdowns succeeding only somewhat in slowing the rate of the virus’s spread.

Pakistan’s coronavirus cases quadruple during the holy month of Ramadan — and show no signs of slowing

Some 99 percent of the hospital beds in Mumbai, a city of 12 million people, are filled. Delhi’s chief minister warned last week that the number of cases there could reach 500,000 by July, up from the city’s current 35,000 confirmed infections. Sick people already struggle to find an open hospital bed.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

The latest: The CDC has loosened many of its recommendations for battling the coronavirus, a strategic shift that puts more of the onus on individuals, rather than on schools, businesses and other institutions, to limit viral spread.

Variants: BA.5 is the most recent omicron subvariant, and it’s quickly become the dominant strain in the U.S. Here’s what to know about it, and why vaccines may only offer limited protection.

Vaccines: Vaccines: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 12 and older get an updated coronavirus booster shot designed to target both the original virus and the omicron variant circulating now. You’re eligible for the shot if it has been at least two months since your initial vaccine or your last booster. An initial vaccine series for children under 5, meanwhile, became available this summer. Here’s what to know about how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections and booster history.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. The omicron variant is behind much of the recent spread.

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