COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 21 June

A health worker prepares a dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Central Vaccination Center, inside the Bang Sue Grand Station, Thailand, June 21, 2021. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha - RC2T4O9G30NT
The vaccination rollout continues around the world, with China passing 1 billion doses administered.
Image: REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
  • This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Top stories: Delta variant becoming globally dominant strain: WHO; China passes 1 billion vaccine doses; Brazil has passed half a million COVID-19 cases.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 178.4 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 3.86 million. More than 2.62 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

The Delta variant of COVID-19, first identified in India, is becoming the globally dominant variant of the disease, the World Health Organization's chief scientist has said.

In Russia, the number of coronavirus cases attributed to the Delta variant is rising significantly, the head of the consumer health watchdog said. COVID-19 cases have surged in Russia in the last week.

China has passed the milestone of 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to CNN. As of Saturday, a total of 1,010,489,000 doses had been given, China's National Health Commission (NHC) said in a statement.

Australian states and territories will get more doses of COVID-19 vaccines soon, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, as authorities look to avoid further delays in an immunisation drive that has hit several roadblocks.

Mexico's health ministry on Sunday reported 1,578 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 36 more fatalities, bringing the total figures to 2,477,283 infections and 231,187 deaths.

Brazil recorded 44,178 additional confirmed cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, along with 1,025 deaths from COVID-19, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

2. Brazil's death toll has passed half a million

Brazil’s death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 500,000 on Saturday, reports Reuters, as experts warn that the world’s second-deadliest outbreak may worsen due to delayed vaccinations and the government’s refusal to back social distancing measures.

Only 11% of Brazilians have been fully vaccinated and epidemiologists warn that, with winter arriving in the southern hemisphere and new variants of the coronavirus circulating, deaths will continue to mount even if immunizations gain steam.

Brazil has registered 500,800 deaths from 17,883,750 confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to Health Ministry data on Saturday, the worst official death toll outside the United States. Over the past week, Brazil has averaged 2,000 deaths per day.

Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in Brazil.
COVID-19 cases in Brazil have passed half a million.
Image: Our World in Data

COVID-19 continues to devastate countries around the region with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reporting 1.1 million new cases of COVID-19 and 31,000 deaths in the Americas last week. PAHO noted upticks in six Mexican states, Belize, Guatemala, Panama and some places in the Caribbean.

PAHO warned that Colombia's COVID-19 situation is at its worst point yet, with intensive care unit beds filled in major cities.

Experts see the toll in Brazil, already the highest in Latin America, climbing far higher.

"I think we are going to reach 700,000 or 800,000 deaths before we get to see the effects of vaccination," said Gonzalo Vecina, former head of Brazilian health regulator Anvisa, predicting a near-term acceleration in fatalities.

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