"This is a very, very serious situation."
Confirmed global cases of the coronavirus hit 10 million Sunday, a grim milestone that came as reported deaths from the disease climbed toward 500,000 and a top U.S. health official warned the country's chances of getting the outbreak back under control were fast disappearing.
"This is a very, very serious situation and the window is closing for us to take action and get this under control," Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar told CNN's Jake Tapper Sunday.
NEW: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warns on CNN that the "window is closing" for the U.S. to get th… https://t.co/iAhlEtdJzG— Axios (@Axios)1593351417.0
Data from Johns Hopkins University, which has tracked the disease for months, showed the total confirmed cases around the world at over 10 million by early Sunday afternoon. Total deaths as of press time had nearly exceeded the 500,000 mark.
The U.S. leads the world in total cases with over 2.5 million and in deaths with 125,709. Brazil is a distant second in both categories with around 1.3 million cases and just over 57,000 deaths.
"We are 4% of the world's population and we are 25% of the cases and the deaths," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on an appearance on ABC Sunday.
JUST IN: @GStephanopoulos: “Is it time to mandate the wearing of masks across the country?” “Definitely long overd… https://t.co/nBU7KslDLo— ABC News (@ABC News)1593349693.0
As CNN reported:
Thirty-six states are reporting a rise in positive coronavirus cases, and only two are reporting a decline in cases compared to last week.
On Friday, the U.S. reported the highest number of new cases in a single day, with at least 40,173 new infections. The previous daily high was reported on Thursday.
Several states, including Texas and Washington state, and localities have paused their reopening plans or reimposed some restrictions in hopes of curbing the spread of the virus.
President Donald Trump's management of the disease has been blamed by critics for the nation's high rate of infection and death count. Trump and members of his administration have blamed a host of other factors, including testing, on the high rate.
Former Centers for Disease Control director Dr. Tom Frieden told Fox News Sunday that rationale was simply untrue.
"As a doctor, a scientist, an epidemiologist, I can tell you with 100% certainty that in most states where you're seeing an increase, it is a real increase," said Frieden. "It is not more tests, it is more spread of the virus."