US toll crosses 100,000 as virus tightens its grip on Latin America

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Washington - Deaths in Brazil topped 25,000 on Wednesday, and its caseload is second only to the United States.


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Published: Thu 28 May 2020, 5:51 PM

Last updated: Thu 28 May 2020, 7:58 PM

The US coronavirus death toll passed 100,000 as the pandemic tightened its grip on South America, which is outpacing Europe and the United States in daily infections.
Global cases have surged to nearly 5.7 million, with more than 354,000 deaths, and the worrying acceleration of the disease in South America has marked the continent as the new hotspot.
Deaths in Brazil topped 25,000 on Wednesday, and its caseload is second only to the United States, where authorities have moved to ease lockdowns and help the battered economy, despite experts recommending they remain on guard for a resurgence of the disease.
"Don't start leapfrogging over the recommendations of some of the guidelines because that's really tempting fate and asking for trouble," Anthony Fauci, one of the top US health advisers, told CNN.
Nearly 1.7 million Americans are known to have been infected with the disease, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
Lockdowns in some form will remain necessary until a vaccine or treatment is available, experts have warned, but many governments are under immense pressure to provide relief as businesses and citizens grow weary and resentful of mass confinement.
Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's far-right president and a Trump ally, has slammed stay-at-home orders and played down the threat of the virus, saying the economic fallout of lockdowns causes more damage than the disease itself.
But infections in Brazil have surged past 411,000, and similar bad news continues to emerge from other South American countries.
Peru logged a record 6,154 new cases in a 24-hour period, with its virus response coordinator Pilar Mazzetti warning that "difficult days, difficult weeks are coming."
Worried relatives outside the Sabogal Hospital in the capital Lima were unable to enter to see loved ones suffering from Covid-19, with some begging the guards for information.
"I want to talk to a doctor and they don't let me know," said Liset Villanueva, granddaughter of a coronavirus patient.
"They don't say anything, they don't call, they don't explain anything... What is he suffering from?"
While scientists around the world are racing to develop a vaccine, parallel trials are under way to test treatments for Covid-19 symptoms.

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