On the Global Pandemic for Week Ending May 16

Number of Cases Worldwide

As of May 16, the worldwide statistics for COVID-19 pandemic as reported by Worldometer were:

- Total reported cases: 4,647,961. This is 642,306 more than the total reported on May 9 of 4,005,655. The increase in cases compared to the previous week was 579,273.

- Total active cases: 2,567,983. This is 214,088 more than the number reported on May 9 of 2,353,895. The increase in total active cases compared to the previous week was 261,951.

- Closed cases: 2,079,978. This is 428,218 more than the number reported on May 9 of 1,651,760. This compares to an increase in the previous week of 317,322.

- Deaths: 308,985. This is 33,316 more deaths than on May 9, when the toll was 275,669. This compares to an increase in the previous week of 35,181.

- Recovered: 1,770,993. This is up 394,902 from the May 9 figure of 1,376,091 and compares to an increase the previous week of 282,141 recoveries.

There were 99,405 new cases from May 15 to 16. This compares to the one-day increase in cases from May 7 to 8 of 96,262 new cases.

The disease was present in 213 countries and territories, up from 212 the week prior. Of these, 52 countries had less than 100 cases, as compared to May 9 when there were 56 countries with less than 100 cases. There are 15 countries/territories without active cases this week, up from four the previous week. They are Mauritius (332 cases; 322 recovered; 10 deaths); Faeroe Islands (187 cases, all recovered); Eritrea (39 cases, all recovered); Timor-Leste (24 cases, all recovered); Belize (18 cases; 16 recovered; 2 deaths); New Caledonia (18 cases, all recovered); Saint Lucia (18 cases, all recovered); the Malvinas (13 cases, all recovered); Greenland (11 cases; all recovered); Suriname (10 cases; 9 recovered; 1 death); Papua New Guinea (8 cases; all recovered); Caribbean Netherlands (6 cases; all recovered); St. Barth (6 cases, all recovered); Western Sahara (6 cases, all recovered); Anguilla (3 cases, all recovered); Saint Pierre et Miquelon (1 case, recovered).

The five countries with the highest number of cases on May 16 are noted below, accompanied by the number of cases and deaths per million population:

USA: 1,484,287 (1,068,029 active; 327,751 recovered; 88,507 deaths) and 4,488 cases per million; 268 deaths per million
- May 9 1,318,686 (1,018,180 active; 222,008 recovered; 78,498 deaths) and 3,984 cases per million; 237 deaths per million

Spain: 274,367 (57,941 active; 188,967 recovered; 27,459 deaths)
and 5,868 cases per million; 587 deaths per million
- May 9: 260,117 (65,410 active; 168,408 recovered; 26,299 deaths) and 5,563 cases per million; 562 deaths per million

Russia: 272,043 (206,340 active; 63,166 recovered; 2,537 deaths)
and 1,801 cases per million; 17 deaths per million
- May 9: 187,859 (159,528 active; 26,608 recovered; 1,723 deaths) and 1,287 cases per million; 12 deaths per million

UK: 236,711 (active N/A; recovered N/A; 33,998 deaths) and 3,489 cases per million; 501 deaths per million
- May 9: 211,364 (179,779 active; recovered N/A; 31,241 deaths) and 3,114 cases per million; 460 deaths per million

Italy: 223,885 (72,070 active; 120,205 recovered; 31,610 deaths) and 3,702 cases per million; 523 deaths per million
- May 9: 217,185 (87,961 active; 99,023 recovered; 30,201 deaths) and 3,592 cases per million; 500 deaths per million

The U.S. alone has about 31.93 per cent of all cases worldwide as compared to 33 on May 9. Cases in Europe comprise 37.46 per cent of all cases worldwide, as compared to 39.48 on May 9.

Cases in Top Five Countries by Region

In Europe on May 16, the two other European countries with the highest number of reported cases after Spain and Italy, listed above, are France and Germany:

France: 179,506 (91,529 active; 60,448 recovered; 27,529 deaths) and 2,751 cases per million; 422 deaths per million
- May 9: 176,079 (94,067 active; 55,782 recovered; 26,230 deaths) and 2,698 cases per million; 402 deaths per million

Germany: 175,699 (15,998 active; 151,700 recovered; 8,001 deaths) and 2,098 cases per million; 96 deaths per million
- May 9: 170,678 (21,468 active; 141,700 recovered; 7,510 deaths) and 2,037 cases per million; 90 deaths per million

A major development in Europe this week is the lifting of travel restrictions or plans to do so in the near future, including by those countries the most affected by the pandemic.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on May 10 that the UK would gradually begin to lift various confinement measures during the week. He said that while people should continue to work from home if possible, construction and manufacturing workers would be encouraged to go to work. However, people should avoid using public transport, which will continue to operate at around 10 per cent capacity, said Johnson, adding, "This is not the time simply to end the lockdown this week. Instead, we are taking the first careful steps to modify our measures." The plan will see shops and primary schools re-opened from June 1, while hospitality businesses and other public places could reopen -- "if the numbers support it" -- on July 1, Johnson said. He stressed that the plan was "conditional" and would depend on the infection rate remaining low, as well as other criteria, including a sustained and consistent fall in the death rate, testing for coronavirus, and the availability of critical care facilities.

In the UK at least, such plans are underway despite the lack of confidence in the government's efforts to contain the pandemic and the real danger of a resurgence of infections that could result.

In Italy, under a new decree approved on May 16, inter-regional and foreign travel will be allowed again as of June 3, except for Vatican City and San Marino, a measure aimed at restarting the tourism industry. The timing is also meant to prevent mass travel for the Republic Day holiday on June 2.

In Germany, EU citizens whose countries are part of the Schengen agreement travel zone and UK citizens will soon be free to enter the country if the pandemic remains under control, Deutsche Welle reported on May 15. In turn, German citizens will be able to visit neighbouring countries more easily as Germany prepares to open up its borders in the coming days and weeks, as it is "confident" it has been "successful in containing the pandemic," the Interior Ministry said on May 15. Previously, movement was restricted to only travel deemed essential and those entering or leaving Germany had to quarantine for 14 days; this will now only be advised for those coming from places with high rates of infection.

In France, the government has issued a colour-coded map of the country, splitting the country in half into green and red zones. The map combines infections over the past seven days, stress on intensive care beds in hospitals and testing capacity. On May 11, lockdown measures were relaxed more in the green areas than the red for the time being, the BBC reports. To begin with, primary schools and most businesses will be allowed to reopen in both zones. Cafes, restaurants, secondary schools, public parks and gardens will be able to reopen in June in the green zones, infection rates permitting. In Paris and the four adjoining regions -- Ile-de-France, Hauts-de-France, Grand Est Bourgogne-Franche-Comte -- which comprise the red zone, public parks and gardens will stay shut. Masks must be worn on public transport, which will be disinfected at least once a day, and stores will have the right to ask shoppers to wear them. Social distancing rules will also stay in place. People everywhere (except the French Indian Ocean island of Mayotte) can go back to work and leave home without downloading a permit. Video surveillance cameras will monitor how many people are wearing masks and that they are staying at least a metre apart.

In Spain, half of the country has "advanced to phase one of a four-phase plan to ease lockdown restrictions by July," the Guardian reports. "Hoteliers can open their properties -- though none of the common areas -- and bars and restaurants can open a limited amount of outdoor seating. However Madrid, Málaga, Granada, Barcelona and parts of Valencia are among the provinces and municipalities not yet cleared to advance.

"Tourism is Spain's third largest contributor to the economy, making up 12.3 per cent of its GDP, and there is pressure to get hotels to reopen, despite the fact that until July no one will be allowed to travel between provinces. And until borders reopen, airlines start flying and the 14-day quarantine is lifted, there will be no foreign tourists.

"In the meantime, to ensure health security and help restore confidence, government health-and-safety guidelines have been drawn up for every sector of the tourism industry. For hotels, this means vigorous cleaning and disinfection multiple times a day by staff wearing PPE, as well as changes to the guest experience, such as a ban on buffets."

In Eurasia on May 16, Russia tops the list of five countries with the highest cases in the region, with the figures reported above, followed by:

Turkey: 146,457 (36,269 active; 106,133 recovered; 4,055 deaths) and 1,739 cases per million; 48 deaths per million
- May 9: 135,569 (45,484 active; 86,396 recovered; 3,689 deaths) and 1,607 cases per million; 44 deaths per million

Kazakhstan: 5,850 ( 3,109 active; 2,707 recovered; 34 deaths) and 312 cases per million; 2 deaths per million
- May 9: 4,834 (3,172 active; 1,631 recovered; 31 deaths) and 257 cases per million; 2 deaths per million

Armenia: 4,283 (2,437 active; 1,791 recovered; 55 deaths) and 1,446 cases per million; 9 deaths per million
- May 9: 3,029 (1,768 active; 1,218 recovered; 43 deaths) and 1,022 cases per million; 15 deaths per million

Azerbaijan: 2,980 (1,058 active; 1,886 recovered; 36 deaths) and 294 cases per million; 4 deaths per million
- May 9: 2,422 (771 active; 1,620 recovered; 31 deaths)

Since May 3, Russia has had about 10,000 or more new cases per day. The daily rate of deaths continues to increase, with an all-time high reached on May 15 of 113. Nonetheless, on May 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that measures taken thus far had created a situation where a gradual easing of coronavirus lockdown measures could begin on May 12, Reuters reported. President Putin "emphasized the lifting of restrictions would be gradual and that individual regions in the world's largest country would need to tailor their approach to varying local conditions. Moscow, for example, has said it will keep its own lockdown measures in place until May 31."

"Mass public events would still be banned," said Putin, "and Russians aged 65 or over are asked to stay home, even as certain sectors of the bruised economy such as construction and agriculture are allowed to restart work."

Deaths in Russia due to COVID-19 are relatively low, which Russian officials attribute to the high level of testing, 6,413,948 as of May 16, the highest number in the world and more than double the number carried out by Germany, 3,147,771, which has the next highest number.

In West Asia on May 16:

Iran: 118,392 (18,308 active; 93,147 recovered; 6,937 deaths) and 1,412 cases per million; 83 deaths per million
- May 9: 104,691 (14,313 active; 83,837 recovered; 6,541 deaths) and 1,246 cases per million; 78 deaths per million

Saudi Arabia: 52,016 (28,048 active; 23,666 recovered; 302 deaths) and 1,497 cases per million; 9 deaths per million
- May 9: 35,432 (26,083 active; 9,120 recovered; 229 deaths) and 1,018 cases per million; 7 deaths per million

Qatar: 30,972 (27,169 active; 3,788 recovered; 15 deaths) and 10,774 cases per million; 5 deaths per million
- May 9: 20,201 (17,819 active; 2,370 recovered; 12 deaths) and 7,012 cases per million; 4 deaths per million

UAE: 21,831 (14,293 active; 7,328 recovered; 210 deaths)
and 2,211 cases per million; 21 deaths per million
- May 9: 16,793 (12,782 active; 3,837 recovered; 174 deaths) and 1,698 cases per million; 18 deaths per million

Israel: 16,606 (3,519 active; 12,820 recovered; 267 deaths) and 1,922 cases per million; 31 deaths per million
- May 9: 16,436 (4,962 active; 11,229 recovered; 245 deaths) and 1,899 cases per million; 28 deaths per million

In Iran, after a steady decrease in the rate of daily new cases from more then 3,000 to less than 1,000 between March 30 and May 2, the number of new cases has been on the increase, back up to about 2,000 new cases per day. Lockdown restrictions -- the closing of educational institutions and a ban on cultural, religious, and sports gatherings -- have gradually been lifted since April 11, beginning with the lifting of "low-risk" businesses. This past week, Iran reopened all mosques across the country. while schools in "low-risk" regions are set to reopen on May 16, Anadolu Agency reported.

In Iraq, the destruction wrought by the U.S.-led imperialist intervention in 2003 has created a situation where "a massive 70 per cent of the country's health care infrastructure has been destroyed. As hospitals are besieged by victims of the pandemic, a state enfeebled by two decades of conflict is again at a breaking point," a May 11 article published on the website Jacobin reports. The article points out that "the current health crisis was declared just at the moment that Iraq was going through one of the gravest episodes since the beginning of the occupation." It notes that "At the same time, the Trump administration adopted a more aggressive strategy in Iraq, as relations between the United States and Iran grew ever more tense, with both American and Israeli attacks increasing against the Tehran-aligned Popular Mobilization Forces. The point of no return was reached on January 3 this year, when American bombs killed Qassim Soleimani, commander of the al-Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis, the PMF's second-in-command, seen as the 'hero of the victory against Daesh [IS]' by many Iraqis.


"The killing of al-Mohandis in particular was viewed, by Iraqis from across the political spectrum, as a serious attack against the country's sovereignty. On January 5 the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution calling for the end of foreign troops' presence in the country, as millions of people took to the streets to denounce the assassination of both Soleimani and al-Mohandis. Muqtada al-Sadr commanded his partisans to leave the anti-government protests and join the funeral processions and, for his part, demanded the retreat of American troops from Iraq. Threatened, President Trump said:

"'If they do ask us to leave, if we don't do it on a very friendly basis. We will charge them sanctions like they've never seen before ever. It'll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.'

"In mid-January, Washington went so far as to threaten to restrict Iraq's access to its own bank reserves, held in New York -- the ultimate symbol of Baghdad's subordination.

"It is in this context that the coronavirus epidemic was declared at the end of February. The minister of health demanded $5 billion immediately and a further $150 billion to buy testing and other medical equipment. But the government hasn't been able to fully respond, since a new budget has not yet been voted through by parliament.

"Confinement measures have worsened the economic crisis and Iraq's dependence on oil -- 85 per cent of the state budget comes from petrochemical revenues -- meaning that 'Iraq has lost half of its financial revenues' over the last period, as one government official has explained. 1,928 people in Iraq have been infected (as compared to 717 in Lebanon and 501 in Palestine; we don't have reliable statistics for Syria and Yemen). If this number seems small in comparison with the hecatomb of the West, the catastrophe may be no less severe, given the state of health services.


"The health sector gets only 2.5 per cent of the national budget. The successive wars have ruined what was, in the 1990s, one of the most developed health care systems in the region. According to a UNICEF report, 97 per cent of the urban and 71 per cent of the rural population had access to medical care in 1990, thanks to a well-established medical profession, and the fact that care itself was free of charge. But according to the UN, around 20,000 Iraqi doctors have left the country since 2003.

"As the second-biggest exporter of oil in the world, the state today is not able to enact general testing. In Mosul, the country's second-biggest city, nine of the thirteen hospitals on which the city depended were destroyed during the war against IS. The larger part of the city does not have access to water or basic services. According to Médecins Sans Frontičres, there are not even 1,000 beds per 1.8 million people, with 70 per cent of all medical facilities destroyed. In Sadr City, there are just four hospitals for 3.5 million inhabitants and a chronic lack of medical staff.

"The country's economic crisis brought many thousands of protesters onto the streets through late 2019; the health crisis will only exacerbate the population's precarious living conditions.

"According to the UN, 4 million Iraqi survive thanks to international aid which, since the crisis is global, may itself plummet. There are still 1.4 million displaced people in the country, 200,000 of whom are living in camps.

"And, as the state plans to reduce the wages of state functionaries (that is, 30 per cent of the active population), a huge number of people due to confinement have already lost their income, with two-thirds of the active population working in the informal sector."

In South Asia on May 16:

India: 86,595 (53,049 active; 30,786 recovered; 2,760 deaths) and 63 cases per million; 2 deaths per million
- May 9: 59,693 (39,821 active; 17,887 recovered; 1,985 deaths) and 43 cases per million; 1 death per million

Pakistan: 38,799 (27,085 active; 10,880 recovered; 834 deaths) and 176 cases per million; 4 deaths per million
- May 9: 26,435 (18,306 active; 7,530 recovered; 599 deaths) and 120 cases per million; 3 deaths per million

Bangladesh: 20,995 (16,564 active; 4,117 recovered; 314 deaths) and 128 cases per million; 2 deaths per million
- May 9: 13,134 (10,827 active; 2,101 recovered; 206 deaths) and 80 cases per million; 1 death per million

Afghanistan: 6,402 (5,489 active; 745 recovered; 168 deaths) and 165 cases per million; 4 deaths per million
- May 9: 3,778 (3,197 active; 472 recovered; 109 deaths) and 97 cases per million; 3 cases per million

Sri Lanka: 936 (407 active; 520 recovered; 9 deaths) and 44 cases per million; 0.4 deaths per million
- May 9: 824 (575 active; 240 recovered; 9 deaths) and 38 cases per million; 0.4 deaths per million

In Southeast Asia on May 16:

Singapore: 27,356 (20,087 active; 7,248 recovered; 21 deaths) and 4,681 cases per million; 4 deaths per million
- May 9: 21,707 (19,647 active; 2,040 recovered; 20 deaths) and 3,710 cases per million; 3 deaths per million

Indonesia: 17,025 (12,025 active; 3,911 recovered; 1,089 deaths) and 62 cases per million; 4 deaths per million
- May 9: 13,112 (9,675 active; 2,494 recovered; 943 deaths) and 48 cases per million; 3 deaths per million

Philippines: 12,305 (8,927 active; 2,561 recovered; 817 deaths) and 112 cases per million; 7 deaths per million
- May 9: 10,463 (8,033 active; 1,734 recovered; 696 deaths) and 95 cases per million; 6 deaths per million

Malaysia: 6,872 (1,247 active; 5,512 recovered; 113 deaths) and 213 cases per million; 3 deaths per million
- May 9: 6,535 (1,564 active; 4,864 recovered; 107 deaths) and 202 cases per million; 3 deaths per million

Thailand: 3,025 (114 active; 2,855 recovered; 56 deaths) and 43 cases per million; 0.8 deaths per million
- May 9: 3,000 (161 active; 2,784 recovered; 55 deaths) and 43 cases per million; 0.8 deaths per million

In East Asia on May 16:

China: 82,941 (89 active; 78,219 recovered; 4,633 deaths)
and 58 cases per million; 3 deaths per million
- May 9: 82,886 (260 active; 77,993 recovered; 4,633 deaths) and 58 cases per million; 3 deaths per million

Japan: 16,203 (5,152 active; 10,338 recovered; 713 deaths) and 128 cases per million; 6 deaths per million
- May 9: 15,575 (9,839 active; 5,146 recovered; 590 deaths) and 123 cases per million; 5 deaths per million

South Korea: 11,037 (924 active; 9,851 recovered; 262 deaths) and 215 cases per million; 5 deaths per million
- May 9: 10,822 (1,082 active; 9,484 recovered; 256 deaths) and 211 cases per million; 5 deaths per million

Taiwan: 440 (44 active; 389 recovered; 7 deaths) 18 cases per million; 0.3 deaths per million
- May 9: 440 (79 active; 355 recovered; 6 deaths) and 18 cases per million; 0.3 deaths per million

China and Korea have brought the pandemic under control, however the recent easing of pandemic restrictions in those countries has resulted in small resurgences of COVID-19 infections in both countries in the past week. However, the overall situation means that both countries can put full weight behind efforts to mop up such outbreaks. For example, in Wuhan, China, authorities announced this past week that a program to test all of the city's 11 million residents would be undertaken to block any further resurgences.

In North America on May 16:

USA: 1,484,287 (1,068,029 active; 327,751 recovered; 88,507 deaths) and 4,488 cases per million; 268 deaths per million
- May 9 1,318,686 (1,018,180 active; 222,008 recovered; 78,498 deaths) and 3,984 cases per million; 237 deaths per million

Canada: 74,613 (32,156 active; 36,895 recovered; 5,562 deaths) and 1,979 cases per million; 148 deaths per million
- May 9: 66,326 (31,811 active; 29,948 recovered; 4,567 deaths) and 1,757 cases per million; 121 deaths per million

Mexico: 45,032 (9,814 active; 30,451 recovered; 4,767 deaths) and 350 cases per million; 37 deaths per million
- May 9: 29,616 (8,874 active; 17,781 recovered; 2,961 deaths) and 230 cases per million; 23 deaths per million

The overall political crisis in the U.S. combined with pandemic continues to illustrate the need for profound political renewal, where working people can exercise control over the matters that concern them, including setting a new human-centred direction for the economy. Despite the overall situation across the U.S. not being under control, various states have begun to lift lockdown restrictions, resulting in new outbreaks of COVID-19.

This past week it came to light that in January, a U.S. domestic mask manufacturer in Texas, with the capacity to manufacture 1.7 million of N95 masks per week, ultimately had its offer to restart production lines turned down by the government. Not long after, shortages of masks became rampant and the federal government has been purchasing masks from abroad at greatly inflated prices, and procurement contracts have been handed out to unqualified suppliers. Domestic production of masks in the U.S. has still not restarted and masks are being imported, including from China, a country that the Trump administration is stepping up its attempts to demonize. Meanwhile, despite air travel being virtually stopped, the Transportation Safety Authority has been hoarding more than 1.3 million N95 masks, instead of donating them to hospitals, as directed by the Department of Homeland Security.

While the ruling circles in the U.S. have been enacting pay-the-rich bailout schemes for private corporations, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) a public institution that is especially crucial during the pandemic, has been denied the funding it requires during this time of crisis. The American Postal Workers Union (AWPU) has issued a campaign calling on the government to support the USPS, stating:

"Postal workers are keeping our country moving and U.S. economy working for us during this time of crisis -- getting prescriptions delivered to people sheltering in place, making e-commerce possible and keeping families connected. It is the emergency distribution system when our country is in crisis.

"But at this unprecedented time, that work is under threat. The Coronavirus shutdown is plummeting postal revenues while increasing costs. The Postal Service could run out of money by the end of the Summer and the Trump administration is trying to leverage the crisis to sacrifice our public Postal Service at the altar of private profit.

"The loss of the USPS would shatter our response to the Coronavirus pandemic, hit already weakened businesses, and ravage communities. Our public Postal Service needs all American leaders -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- to provide urgent and ongoing financial support from the Federal Government during this public health and economic crisis."

Despite the huge value that the USPS creates, an April 14 article in New York Magazine explains that "the USPS is not funded by congressional appropriations. Rather, since the 1970s, Congress has required the Postal Service to simultaneously:

"- Finance its own operations, as though it were a business.

"- Provide mail service to every part of the country -- and charge Americans the same (affordable) postal rates no matter where they live, even if such Americans happen to reside in rural hinterlands that private carriers ignore because they cannot be profitably served.

"This dual mandate was always a challenge. But as the internet's growth reduced demand for snail mail, it became nigh impossible for the USPS to meet both of these requirements without cutting jobs and employee compensation. And, in 2006, a Republican Congress deliberately made the agency's predicament worse by (needlessly) forcing it to prepay all its employees' pension and retirement health costs decades in advance. All this rendered the Postal Service technically insolvent before COVID-19 made its presence felt in the U.S. Now that the crisis has also drastically reduced America's overall mail volume, the agency's revenue is in free fall. According to Postmaster General Megan Brennan, USPS will incur $22 billion in new losses over the next 18 months."

In Central America and the Caribbean on May 16:

Dominican Republic: 11,739 (7,758 active; 3,557 recovered; 424 deaths) and 1,084 cases per million; 39 deaths per million
- May 9: 9,376 (6,710 active; 2,286 recovered; 380 deaths) and 864 cases per million; 35 deaths per million

Panama: 9,268 (2,922 active; 6,080 recovered; 266 active) and 2,152 cases per million; 62 deaths per million
- May 9: 7,868 (6,757 active; 886 recovered; 225 deaths) and 1,824 cases per million; 52 deaths per million

Honduras: 2,460 (2,062 active; 264 recovered; 134 deaths) and 249 cases per million; 14 deaths per million
- May 9: 1,685 (1,426 active; 154 recovered; 105 deaths) and 170 cases per million; 11 deaths per million

Cuba: 1,840 (336 active; 1,425 recovered; 79 deaths) and 162 cases per million; 7 deaths per million
- May 9: 1,741 (589 active; 1,078 recovered; 74 deaths) and 154 cases per million; 7 deaths per million

Guatemala: 1,643 (1,478 active; 135 recovered; 30 deaths) and 92 cases per million; 2 deaths per million
- May 9: 832 (719 active; 90 recovered; 23 deaths) and 46 cases per million; 1 death per million

In South America on May 16:

Brazil: 220,291 (120,359 active; 84,970 recovered; 14,962 deaths) and 1,037 cases per million; 70 deaths per million
- May 9: 145,328 (80,081 active; 55,350 recovered; 9,897 deaths) and 684 cases per million; 47 deaths per million

Peru: 84,495 (54,956 active; 27,147 recovered; 2,392 deaths) and 2,567 cases per million; 73 deaths per million
- May 9: 61,847 (41,121 active; 19,012 recovered; 1,714 deaths) and 1,876 cases per million; 52 deaths per million

Chile: 39,542 (22,534 active; 16,614 recovered; 394 deaths) and 2,071 cases per million; 21 deaths per million
- May 9: 25,972 (13,518 active; 12,160 recovered; 294 deaths) and 1,359 cases per million; 15 deaths per million

Ecuador: 31,467 (25,440 active; 3,433 recovered; 2,594 deaths) and 1,787 cases per million; 147
- May 9: 30,298 (25,211 active; 3,433 recovered; 1,654 deaths) and 1,717 cases per million; 94 deaths per million

Colombia: 14,216 (10,210 active; 3,460 recovered; 546 deaths) and 280 cases per million; 11 deaths per million
- May 9: 9,456 (6,749 active; 2,300 recovered; 407 deaths) and 186 cases per million; 8 deaths per million

Brazil's current rate of new daily cases reached more than 15,000 on May 16. If this continues unabated, the country will likely have the third highest number of cases worldwide by next week. Reuters reported on May 15 that "Brazil's health minister Nelson Teich handed in his resignation on Friday [May 15] after less than a month on the job, adding to turmoil in the government's handling of the novel coronavirus as the country becomes a global hot spot for the pandemic.

"Teich, who disagreed with right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, has submitted his resignation and will hold a news conference later Friday, his office said. Bolsonaro has been pushing in recent days for wider use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19, which Teich resisted.

"They have also disagreed on the pace of reopening the economy. Last week, the minister said he was not consulted before Bolsonaro issued a decree allowing gyms, beauty parlours and hairdressers to open for business.

"Teich is the second health minister to resign amid the coronavirus pandemic in Brazil. In mid-April he replaced Nelson Mandetta, who also resisted broader use of hydroxychloroquine and disagreed with Bolsonaro's argument to do away with quarantines and other coronavirus restrictions."

"It is not clear who will be the next to step into the role."

In Africa on May 16:

South Africa: 13,524 (7,194 active; 6,083 recovered; 247 deaths) and 228 cases per million; 4 deaths per million
- May 9: 8,895 (5,564 active; 3,153 recovered; 178 deaths) and 150 cases per million; 3 deaths per million

Egypt: 11,228 (7,837 active; 2,799 recovered; 592 deaths) and 110 cases per million; 6 deaths per million
- May 9: 8,476 (6,028 active; 1,945 recovered; 503 deaths) and 83 cases per million; 5 deaths per million

Morocco: 6,681 (3,014 active; 3,475 recovered; 192 deaths) and 181 cases per million; 5 deaths per million
- May 9: 5,711 (3,201 active; 2,324 recovered; 186 deaths) and 155 cases per million; 5 deaths per million

Algeria: 6,629 (2,822 active; 3,271 recovered; 536 deaths) and 152 cases per million; 12 deaths per million
- May 9: 5,369 (2,414 active; 2,467 recovered; 488 deaths) and 122 cases per million; 11 deaths per million

Ghana: 5,638 (4,150 active; 1,460 recovered; 28 deaths) and 182 cases per million; 0.9 deaths per million
- May 9: 4,012 (3,671 active; 323 recovered; 18 deaths) and 129 cases per million; 0.6 deaths per million

Overall, the total number of cases on the African continent on May 16 is 80,171, up from 58,528 on May 9.

The U.S. imperialists' wretched inhumanity continues to be on full display in Somalia, where "In the first four months of this year, U.S. Africa Command has conducted more airstrikes in Somalia than it did during all of Barack Obama's eight years in office," Nick Turse, writing for The Intercept, reported on April 22. The report continues:

"The massive escalation of America's undeclared war in Somalia comes as UN Secretary-General António Guterres has repeatedly appealed for a global ceasefire amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 'There should be only one fight in our world today, our shared battle against COVID-19,' he reiterated on April 3. 'We must mobilize every ounce of energy to defeat it.'

"That same day, AFRICOM [the U.S. military's Africa Command] conducted an 'airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Bush Madina, Somalia,' according to a command press release. The U.S. claimed five members of al-Shabaab were killed in the strike.

"Since the beginning of the year, AFRICOM has announced 39 airstrikes in Somalia. The command announced a total of 36 such attacks from 2009 to 2017, under Obama, peaking in 2016 with 19 declared airstrikes. Last year, under President Donald Trump, the U.S. conducted 63 air attacks in Somalia, the most ever in a single year.


"'The high tempo of U.S. air and ground operations in Somalia appears to be focused on supporting efforts by Somali government forces and its [African Union Mission in Somalia] allies to dislodge the terror group from its strongholds,' said Chris Woods, the director of Airwars, a UK-based airstrike monitoring group. 'There are also a significant number of strikes targeting leadership within the terror group.'

"The spike in U.S. airstrikes comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in Somalia is similarly rising. On April 8, there were 21 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Somalia. [As of May 16, there are 1,284 total cases (1,096 active; 135 recovered; 53 deaths) -- TML Ed. Note] Most of those infected have no history of travel abroad, indicating local transmission of the disease and worrying prospects for the future -- especially among the many internally displaced persons, or IDPs, who have lost their homes to the ongoing conflict between al-Shabaab and the Federal Government of Somalia, which is backed by the United States.

"'There is an increased risk that cases may go undetected or undiagnosed if community transmission begins and becomes widespread,' reads an April 20 report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 'The impact on the 2.6 million [internally displaced persons] living in more than 2,000 crowded settlements with limited access to health and water, sanitation and hygiene services would be catastrophic.'

"While reports have been circulating about potential U.S. military drawdowns and even base closures in Africa, the number of U.S. outposts in Somalia is significant and poised to expand. There are five U.S. bases in Somalia -- the second-most on the continent after Niger -- according to formerly secret 2019 AFRICOM planning documents revealed by The Intercept earlier this year."

In Oceania on May 16:

Australia: 7,036 (576 active; 6,362 recovered; 98 deaths) and 276 cases per million; 4 deaths per million
- May 9: 6,914 (738 active; 6,079 recovered; 97 deaths) and 271 cases per million; 4 deaths per million

New Zealand: 1,498 (49 active; 1,428 recovered; 21 deaths) and 311 cases per million; 4 deatths per million
- May 9: 1,490 (122 active; 1,347 recovered; 21 deaths) and 309 cases per million; 4 deaths per million

Guam: 149 (5 deaths)
- May 9: 142 (5 deaths)

French Polynesia: 60 (1 active; 59 recovered) and 214 cases per million
- May 9: 60 (4 active; 56 recovered) and 214 cases per million

New Caledonia: 18 (all recovered)
- May 9: 18 (1 active; 17 recovered)

(With files from news agencies, BBC, Euractive, Deutsche Welle, Guardian, The Intercept, Jacobin.)

This article was published in

Volume 50 Number 17 - May 16, 2020

Article Link:
On the Global Pandemic for Week Ending May 16


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