Gravediggers of the Santa Tecla municipal cemetery wearing biosafety suits carry the coffin of a victim of COVID-19 coronavirus on June 22, 2020, in Santa Tecla, El Salvador. — AFP/VNA Photo
MONTEVIDEO — Latin America and the Caribbean on Tuesday surpassed 100,000 coronavirus deaths, more than half of them in Brazil, according to an AFP count based on official figures.
The pandemic is accelerating across the region, which now has a total of 2.1 million cases, with Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Chile the most affected countries.
Brazil has the second-highest COVID-19 death toll in the world, after the United States, at more than 52,640 fatalities out of 1,145,906 confirmed cases.
A federal judge ordered Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has famously compared the coronavirus to a "little flu," to wear a face mask in public, after the far-right leader repeatedly flouted containment measures in place in Brasilia.
Mexico, also heavily hit by the virus, was struck Tuesday by a powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake.
The quake hit as the country of 127 million people recorded its highest number of cases in a 24-hour period, with 6,288 new infections, according to the Ministry of Health.
Peru, meanwhile, exceeded 260,000 coronavirus cases, as it marked 100 days under mandatory lockdown and received a donation of 250 ventilators from the United States.
Its neighbour to the north, Colombia, extended its quarantine Tuesday until July 15, as its coronavirus cases continue to climb. The country has registered 2,404 deaths out of more than 73,500 cases.
US adds 800 more deaths in 24 hours: Johns Hopkins
The United States added 792 deaths in 24 hours, the Johns Hopkins University tally showed Tuesday, as the country's top infectious diseases expert warned there were "historic" challenges ahead.
The world's largest economy is the hardest-hit country by the pandemic, with 121,176 dead out of more than 2.34 million cases, according to the Baltimore-based institution at 8:30pm (0030 GMT Wednesday).
Many states have largely lifted lockdown measures, and New York – the country's epicentre for the pandemic –took a big step Monday by allowing non-essential businesses to reopen.
But some 20 states, primarily in the south and west, have seen a rebound in infections.
Earlier Monday, US government health experts led by Anthony Fauci warned Congress that the country faces "historic" challenges with the virus and should prepare for a lengthy battle.
Fauci, who has become the trusted face of the country's pandemic response, added that the coming two weeks will be "critical to our ability to address... surgings" in states like Florida, Texas and Arizona. — AFP