Ambulances filled with breathless patients lined up in Brazil as nations around the world set new records on Thursday for COVID-19 deaths and new coronavirus infections. The disease even increased in some countries that have kept the virus in check.
In the United States, Detroit leaders began making a plan to knock on every door to persuade people to get vaccinated shots.
Brazil this week became just the third country after the United States and Peru to report a 24-hour census of COVID-19 deaths in excess of 4,000. India hit a high point of nearly 1
In the state of Rio de Janeiro, emergency services are under their greatest strain since the pandemic began, with ambulances transporting patients of all ages to overcrowded hospitals struggling to take care of everyone. Authorities say over 90% of state beds in the intensive care unit are taken by COVID-19 patients, and many cities report people dying at home due to lack of available medical treatment.
“We are already living the third wave. We have three times more calls, ”compared to previous waves, said Adriano Pereira, director of the mobile emergency service in Duque de Caxias, a poor city outside Rio.
Brazil’s death toll has risen above 340,000, the second highest total in the world behind the United States, where nearly 560,000 people have been confirmed killed.
The Rio State’s 14-day moving average of COVID-19 daily deaths rose from 112 to 207 between March 1 and April 7, with some health analysts expecting even worse days in the next few weeks. Many hospitals warn of the risk of lack of oxygen and sedatives for intubation.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to get vaccinated and wrote in a tweet: “Vaccination is among the few ways we have to fight the virus. If you are eligible for the vaccine, you should get a shot soon. ”
The United States has now fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its adult population, and New Mexico became the first state to get shot in the arms of 25% of its residents – milestones that are still far away for many hard-hit countries.
In India, where 1.4 billion people live, only 11 million are fully vaccinated. In Brazil, less than 3% of the country’s 210 million people have received both doses, according to Our World in Data, an online research site.
South Korea reported 700 more cases, the highest daily jump since January 5. Health authorities were expected to announce measures to strengthen social distance after a meeting on Friday.
In Thailand, which has reported only 95 deaths during the pandemic, health officials reported the country’s first local cases of the coronavirus variant first discovered in Britain. The news comes at a time when only 1% of the population has been vaccinated, and as Thais prepare to celebrate the traditional Songkran New Year holiday next week, typically a time of widespread travel.
This variant is more contagious, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week that it is now the most common variant in the United States will worry that it will lead to infections and make more people sick.
Michigan averages more than 7,000 new cases a day – a number that makes the state second in the nation behind New York. Michigan also has the highest number of new cases per year. Per capita, where 1 in every 203 state residents is diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 31 and April 7, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
In Detroit, which is about 80% black, officials said they plan to visit homes to talk about the importance of protecting against the virus with vaccinations and how to sign up to receive the shots.
“We’re going to knock on every residential door in town and make sure every Detroit knows how to make a deal,” Victoria Kovari, an executive assistant to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, told Detroit News.
Only 22% of Detroit residents have received at least one vaccine dose, compared to 38% for all of Michigan, according to Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services.
Other Midwestern states have seen disturbing signs in recent days, including a school district in Iowa where 127 students and five staff members tested positive for coronavirus or were suspected to be positive.
In Massachusetts, where the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen to over 2,100 new cases a day, the Massachusetts Public Health Association called on the Republican government, Charlie Baker, to reintroduce public health measures. The group called on Baker to limit indoor dining capacity and other indoor activities, saying the increase in cases and admissions followed Baker’s decision to loosen those restrictions.
“We are currently in a race between the vaccines and the variants,” said Carlene Pavlos, the group’s CEO on Thursday. “Without these public health measures, even more innocent lives will be lost unnecessarily.”
Associated Press authors Felipe Dana of Rio de Janeiro, Mauricio Savarese of São Paulo, and Corey Williams of Detroit contributed to this report.