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The Intensive Care Unit treating coronavirus patients in the Gilberto Novaes Hospital in Manaus, Brazil, on Wednesday. Photo: Michael Dantas/AFP via Getty Images

Latin America has overtaken the U.S. and Europe for the largest number of new daily novel coronavirus cases this week, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The outbreak in Latin America, and Brazil in particular, significantly contributed to global infection numbers surpassing 5 million early on Thursday. The surge in cases indicates a shift in the spread of COVID-19 from the original epicenter of China to Europe and the U.S.

By the numbers: "Latin America accounted for around a third of the 91,000 cases reported earlier this week," Reuters notes. "Europe and the United States each accounted for just over 20%. ... Cases in Brazil are now rising at a daily pace second only to the United States."

  • Brazil has the third highest number of coronavirus cases in the world. More than 291,500 people have tested positive for the virus, which has killed over 18,500 as of Thursday morning, Johns Hopkins data shows.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization announced on Wednesday there have been 106,000 cases reported to the WHO in the past 24 hours — the most in a single day since the outbreak began.

  • Roughly two-thirds of the new cases were concentrated in four countries, Axios' Marisa Fernandez notes.
  • Among them is Brazil, recorded 1,179 more deaths from the virus on Tuesday — its highest death toll in 24 hours. However, the country's health department said that most deaths had occurred outside of the past 24 hours.
  • Coronavirus deaths in São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil and the Western Hemisphere, have increased by over 485% since the city's health department began keeping track in April, Axios' Orion Rummler reports.

The big picture: Peru has the second-highest contagion rate in Latin America. It has reported over 104,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths despite being one of the earliest countries in the region to introduce lockdown measures, on March 16. The country's most impoverished communities have been hit hardest, the Guardian reports.

  • Mexico has confirmed more than 56,500 infections and over 6,000 deaths. Cases are surging, but NPR notes President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced the country would reopen for business this week.
  • Ecuador has reported over 34,800 cases and more than 2,800 deaths. Some rural communities in the country have been left without doctors, who transferred to cities when the outbreak began, Reuters reports.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Americans shrug off Omicron, Axios-Ipsos poll finds — CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise."
  2. Vaccines: Omicron gives a shot to boosters — U.S. announces $400M for global COVID vaccine distribution — Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down.
  3. States: Gov. Hochul will order some NY hospitals to halt elective surgeries — Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers.
  4. World: EU drug regulator backs mixing COVID vaccines — Poor global equity likely in COVID pill access — CDC raises travel advisories for France, Portugal to highest level amid COVID surge.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated Aug 29, 2020 - Health

University of Alabama reports 1,052 COVID-19 cases since in-person classes began

Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The University of Alabama on Friday reported an additional 485 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff since in-person classes resumed on Aug. 19, bringing the total number cases up to 1,052, according to the university's coronavirus dashboard.

Why it matters: The outbreak underscores concerns from public health experts that in-person classes could cause community spread within school populations. The total reported on Friday does not include the 381 positive tests caught when students, faculty and staff first re-entered campus.