Joe Myers

How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 43.9 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at over 1.16 million.

Mexico has the passed 900,000 total confirmed coronavirus cases, after reporting 5,942 new cases. Health officials say the real total is likely much higher.

Mainland China has reported 42 new COVID-19 infections – the highest daily total in more than two months. It’s the result of an increase in infections in the northwestern Xinjiang region.

The United Nations has cancelled all in-person meetings in its New York HQ for the rest of the week. The move comes after five members of Niger’s UN mission tested positive for the virus.

Nearly half a million people in the United States have contracted COVID-19 in the past 7 days, according to a Reuters tally. The Midwest remains a hotspot of the country’s cases.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is predicting a “tough winter” in the face of a second wave of infections. Deaths in the country have topped 10,000.

Drugmakers GSK and Sanofi are set to make 200 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate available to the vaccine allocation plan co-led by GAVI and the World Health Organization.

Cases and deaths surge across Europe

Countries across Europe are grappling with rising infections, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19.

France has reported 523 new deaths from the virus – the highest daily total since 22 April. The UK has also reported its highest daily figure since 27 May, at 367 deaths. Meanwhile, Italy has reported its highest daily total for fatalities since mid-May.

Cases also continue to surge across the continent, with governments from Belgium to the Czech Republic and Germany extending measures and warning about increasing infections.

“We are dealing with exponential growth,” German Economics Minister Peter Altmaier told a virtual German-French economic conference in Berlin. “In Germany, the number of new infections is rising by 70-75% compared to the week before.”

Bulgaria is closing nightclubs, while students from high schools and universities will study online for two weeks from 29 October, in a bid to tackle rising COVID-19 infections. The public have also been banned from sporting events.

Make wearing a face mask the law?

Global support for mask use is varied, according to a YouGov survey.

In all surveyed countries, a majority of respondents said the practice has been effective at stopping the spread of coronavirus in shops. But, support for making it compulsory by law was more mixed. Nine in 10 people in Brazil, Spain and South Africa would make it the law, but in Sweden and Denmark proponents of a law drop to less than 35% and 45% of the public, respectively.

Respondents were asked about wearing a mask in a variety of scenarios, including walking down the street, in your own home and in medical facilities.

Mask-wearing inside medical facilities was generally considered effective, but for public transport results were more mixed.- The World Economic Forum