April 2 (UPI) — The number of coronavirus cases worldwide is expected to surpass the 1 million mark Thursday as hard-hit Spain reached 10,000 deaths from the disease.
“In the next day or two, we will reach more than 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, and 50,000 deaths,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday.
“This virus, which was unknown to us three months ago, has exposed the weaknesses and inequities in our health systems and societies, our lack of preparedness, and the gaps in our supply chains and other essential systems.”
The United States has the most cases, but deaths in European centers like Italy, Spain and France have far surpassed the rest of the world, with a combined toll of more than 26,500. The WHO said more than 95 percent of the European coronavirus deaths have involved patients over age 60.
Spain’s dire situation grew worse on Thursday. Health officials in Madrid reported a new daily high of 950 coronavirus deaths, pushing the nation’s toll past10,000.
Some 8,100 new infections were reported, taking Spain’s total caseload to more than 110,000. More than 54,000 have been hospitalized, with nearly 27,000 recoveries.
Doctors, though, said fewer patients have come into hospital emergency rooms, raising hopes that the worst of the crisis could be over.
Russia reported 771 new cases — a 28 percent rise over Tuesday’s total — taking its total caseload to more than 3,500. The vast majority are in Moscow. Thirty have died.
A Kremlin spokesman said President Vladimir Putin shook hands recently with a doctor who later tested positive. On Wednesday, he signed a new law imposing a seven-year prison sentence for those who violate quarantine rules and whose actions cause two deaths or more.