Global COVID-19 Cases Surge to Unprecedented Highs
by Felix Richter, Oct 22, 2020
After a period that saw many countries ease restrictions and reopen borders and businesses in the face of falling case numbers, the world is now facing what is often referred to as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the World Health Organization, daily new cases hit a new high of 411,606 on October 17, with the seven-day average of new infections surpassing 350,000 for the first time the same day. While some argue that the high number of new cases is caused by an steep increase in testing compared to a couple of months ago, the most recent surge in new infections cannot be attributed to testing alone, as testing rates haven’t increased significantly over the past few weeks, while new infections have surged, especially across Europe.
As of October 21, more than 40 million people have contracted COVID-19 worldwide, resulting in more than 1.1 million deaths. As the following chart shows, global new cases surged in recent weeks after having plateaued over the summer.