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Trump finally dons mask as global infections gather pace

Trump finally dons mask as global infections gather pace

AFP
Bethesda, Maryland
US President Donald Trump finally yielded to pressure and wore a face mask in public for the first time, as new figures on Sunday showed the pace of the global spread of the coronavirus has accelerated.
Since the start of July, nearly 2.5 million new infections have been reported, a record level since the first outbreak of the disease in China last year, according to an AFP tally.
And in just a month and a half the number of cases worldwide has doubled, according to the count based on official figures.
Hours after the World Health Organization urged countries to step up control measures, Trump donned a dark mask bearing the presidential seal as he visited wounded military veterans in a hospital outside Washington Saturday. “I’ve never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place,” he told reporters.
White House experts leading the fight against the virus have recommended wearing face coverings in public to prevent transmission.
Trump in the past repeatedly avoided wearing a mask, even after White House staffers tested positive for the virus and as more aides have taken to wearing them.
He is trailing Democrat Joe Biden in opinion polls ahead of the November election and surveys show most Americans are unhappy with how he has handled the public health crisis.
But Trump has continued to praise his own response despite a cascade of figures showing the extent of the disease’s spread.
The US posted yet another daily record of confirmed cases on Saturday, with more than 66,500 new infections, while the death toll rose by almost 800 to nearly 135,000.
In Florida, where nearly one in six of those new infections were recorded, the Walt Disney World theme park partially reopened after four months of shutdown.
Hundreds of people queued to enter the park in Orlando, some sporting Mickey ears but all wearing face masks, with social distancing and other hygiene precautions also in place.
Across the planet, the pandemic has infected nearly 13 million people, killed over 565,000 and triggered massive economic damage in the seven months since it was detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The latest-high profile personality to test positive for COVID-19 was Bollywood superstar and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai, whose daughter and husband have also been infected.
India, a country of 1.3 billion people, is the third-worst infected in the world after the United States and Brazil.
Last week, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro also tested positive, and again advocated the use of the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called on countries to adopt an aggressive approach to tackling the virus, citing successful efforts in Italy, South Korea and elsewhere. “Across all walks of life, we are all being tested to the limit,” he said Friday.
“Only aggressive action combined with national unity and global solidarity can turn this pandemic around.” - ‘Everything’s dead’ -Life in parts of Europe is gradually returning to some semblance of normality, although the continent remains the worst affected with more than 202,000 deaths from 2.8 million cases.