Covid-19 infections are nearing the one million mark after “near exponential growth” saw global cases more than double in the past week.
The World Health Organization chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned of the approaching milestone as new cases reached almost every country and territory across the world.
“As we enter the fourth month since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic I’m deeply concerned about the rapid escalation and global spread of infection,” Tedros said.
On Wednesday evening, Donald Trump warned of “difficult days” for the US, saying: “We are going to have a couple of weeks, starting pretty much now, but especially a few days from now, that are going to be horrific.”
He again questioned China’s reported numbers on the virus: “The numbers seem to be a little bit on the light side – and I am being nice when I say that – relative to what we witnessed and what was reported.”
The comments followed a Bloomberg news story that said a classified US intelligence report had concluded that China had under-reported the total cases and deaths it had suffered. On Wednesday – the last day of available figures – China reported 82,361 confirmed cases and 3,316 deaths.
Trump’s warning came as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reportedly asked US defence agencies for 100,000 body bags, for use by civilian authorities. The White House has previously said deaths could reach 240,000.