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The top 5 worst outbreaks worldwide

The pandemic is not over, especially in these places

Locals wait in line overnight for free coronavirus testing in Bangkok, Thailand.
Locals wait in line overnight for free coronavirus testing at Wat Phra Si Mahathat temple in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, July 9, 2021.
Sakchai Lalit, Associated Press

The coronavirus pandemic is not over. The trending Twitter hashtag #CovidisNotOver and fresh waves of outbreaks around the world have sent a strong message.

With increasingly transmissible COVID-19 variants — including the delta and delta plus variants and the newer lambda variant — becoming more prevalent and faltering vaccination campaigns, many places around the world are experiencing renewed outbreaks, reported the Deseret News.

Even previous pandemic success stories have begun to falter.

  • Seoul announced stricter lockdowns Friday after recording two consecutive days of all-time high case numbers, reported the Deseret News.
  • Australia has extended lockdowns as surges continue, reported CNN.

Currently, these are the top five worst outbreaks in the world.

5. Namibia’s outbreak

Last week, the Southern African country of Namibia recorded the highest average rate of infections in the world, reported The Telegraph. Almost half of Namibia’s total COVID-19 cases have come in the last two months.

  • Namibia’s third — and deadliest — wave of outbreaks has been driven by the delta variant, per The Telegraph.
  • The country has recorded more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases every day since June 15, per data from John Hopkins University.

Mohammed Patel, a local paramedic, spoke to CNN about the straining health care system.

“Delta has caused a whole lot of chaos, a whole lot of patients are suffering, their oxygen levels are dropping drastically daily — there are patients that are suffering and there is no space in hospital, there is no ventilators available,” Patel said. “It’s complete chaos.”

According to Dr. Yakub Essack, the medical coordinator of a charity called Gift of Givers, the situation in Namibia is unlike any emergency situation he’s ever dealt with.

  • “The difference is when you go to a war zone or a natural disaster, you have an idea of the level of damage, what the disaster is,” he said per CNN. “But this is very unpredictable. We have never seen anything like this before.”

4. Thailand’s outbreak

In Thailand, coronavirus cases and deaths have more than doubled this week compared to last week, said Newsweek. Friday, the country reported more than 9,000 new cases and 72 new deaths, per Yahoo News. The health care system has begun to buckle under the increased demand.

  • Since the start of the pandemic, Thailand has recorded 317,506 COVID-19 cases and 2,534 deaths, reported Newsweek.
  • About 90% of Thailand’s cases and deaths have come since April — a tenfold increase, per Bloomberg.

The archipelago nation has now imposed a partial lockdown, but the restrictions are too little too late, said Newsweek. Cases are expected to continue rising.

3. Tunisia’s outbreaks

Over the last two weeks, COVID-19 cases in Tunisia have increased by 138% to hit all-time highs, according to Our World in Data. Friday, Tunisia reported 9,823 new cases and 134 new deaths Thursday, per WHO data.

  • The North African country of 12 million people has a total caseload of more than 464,000 cases — and rapidly increasing, reported Al Jazeera.

“We are in a catastrophic situation,” Nisaf Ben Alaya, a Tunisia health ministry spokesperson, said, per Al Jazeera. “The health system collapsed.”

  • “We are struggling to provide oxygen. … Doctors are suffering from unprecedented fatigue,” she said to Al Jazeera.

The country has reimposed a total lockdown across most of the country and a partial lockdown on the capital, according to Al Jazeera. So far, only 4% of the population has received a coronavirus vaccination.

2. Indonesia’s outbreak

By absolute numbers, Indonesia’s outbreak is large and deadly. Previously called a coronavirus “time bomb,” the world’s fourth most populous country is being devastated by the current surge in cases, reported the Deseret News.

  • Wednesday, Indonesia recorded more than 34,000 new cases and 1,000 new deaths — a record high for the country, per The Guardian.
  • Daily case numbers have continued to climb, reaching more than 38,100 cases on Thursday, per WHO data.
  • Officials fear that daily cases could reach 70,000 before the peak of the current outbreak wave, said The Guardian.

Hospitals have begun running low on — or completely out of — necessary oxygen. Some hospitals have temporarily closed or turned patients away due to staff and supply shortages, said The Guardian. One hospital even began using the front yard to treat emergency patients while using the building to isolate COVID-19 patients.

  • “This is not an easy situation. We are not fine,” health ministry spokeswoman Siti Nadia Tarmizi told The Guardian.

1. Brazil’s outbreak

Thursday, Brazil reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases and new deaths in the world, per WHO data. The country currently has the second-highest death toll in the world after the U.S., but experts predict that fatalities in Brazil will soon surpass the U.S., said BBC.

  • Brazil’s total caseload is nearing 19 million with the country recording more than 526,000 coronavirus-related deaths, according to WHO data.
  • Thursday, Brazil reported 62,504 new cases and over 1,700 new deaths, per WHO data.

Professor Pedro Hallal, an epidemiologist leading the largest COVID-19 research study in Brazil, spoke to BBC about the outbreaks.

  • “Everything that you should not do, Brazil has done,” he said
  • Hallal, like many others, placed the blame primarily on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
  • “In April last year, our president said it is coming to an end. Then he said the vaccines were not safe. These statements from the president himself produced damage, and they killed people,” Hallal said per BBC.