A total of 516,898 new infections were registered worldwide on Tuesday, according to an AFP tally from health authorities around the globe - a record figure, although experts caution that most coronavirus cases were undiagnosed during the first wave.
The Johns Hopkins University tracker shows that the world has twice so far recorded a total of over 500,000 – and both in the last week. 23 October saw 506,713 new infections, while 26 October had a total of 525,164.
Many epidemiologists have been warning for weeks that European governments have lost control of the latest outbreaks, AFP ereports, making lockdowns almost inevitable as a last resort in what has become the global epicentre of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
New cases in Europe have been doubling every week or so, while track-and-trace and mass-testing systems that were promised after the first wave have been quickly overwhelmed.
Reflecting the bleak outlook, and with the seasonal winter flu season still ahead in the northern hemisphere, European and US stock markets tumbled as investors fretted over how the new measures will further hurt the economy.