131,296 new coronavirus cases were recorded worldwide on Wednesday, per data from the World Health Organization.
By the numbers: Compare that to 87,729 one month ago, or 4,589 on March 11 — the day the pandemic was declared. 51.9% of new cases are being recorded in the Americas, while Europe's share of new cases is down from nearly 80% in mid-March to 13.3%.
No COVID-19 here
Zero new cases were reported Wednesday in Tanzania and Nicaragua, two countries that seem intent on ignoring the virus until it goes away. Likewise in Burundi, where President Pierre Nkurunziza has died, possibly of coronavirus, there are no new confirmed cases.
- Other countries reporting zero cases include South Sudan and Libya, fragile states that are hardly conducting testing.
- More than a dozen Caribbean islands that are now deciding whether and how to open their borders to tourists also recorded zero cases. So did Costa Rica.
- European members of the no-new-cases club included Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Slovakia and Slovenia.
- The largest member of the club is Vietnam, which has a population of 96 million, but hasn't had a single confirmed death from the coronavirus.
539.5 cases per million were recorded in Qatar, in a rolling average of the past three days, making its outbreak the world's fastest-growing as a proportion of the population.
- Other countries with particularly fast-growing outbreaks include Brazil, Chile, Peru and Panama, along with Armenia, Belarus and several Gulf states.
829 deaths per million make Belgium the hardest-hit country to date as a proportion of the population.
- The U.K. (598), Spain (580) and Italy (561) also have among the highest death rates, as does the U.S. (335), which has by far the largest overall death toll at 111,620.
Places to watch
9,971 cases were recorded in India, the third-most in the world after the U.S. (28,918) and Brazil (27,075).
- South Asia is becoming a new COVID-19 hotspot, with Pakistan now recording more cases per day as a proportion of the population (21.63 per million) than all but a few European countries, despite limited testing.
- Epidemiologist John Clemens estimates that Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, may have up to 750,000 cases — 12 times the official tally, per the Economist.
Unknown: That's the total number of cases and deaths recorded in Brazil, according to Brazil's Health Ministry.
- They were reportedly removed from the ministry's website on the orders of President Jair Bolsonaro, who has suggested the count is artificially high.
- The government now says it will release data that better reflects reality. That's leading to fears of a cover-up.
The jobs question
6.6% was the unemployment rate in the EU as of April (the most recent data), up just 0.2% from before the pandemic and less than half the rate in the U.S. (13.3%).
- That's because EU governments have been paying big chunks of workers' salaries to protect their jobs during lockdowns. More than 40 million people are enrolled in such programs, per the FT.
- The big questions is how many of the jobs that have been saved will still exist post-pandemic.
- The World Bank projects a 5.2% contraction in global GDP in 2020.