The global number of coronavirus cases crossed 16 million on Sunday, more than half of them in the Americas and the Caribbean, according to an AFP tally from official sources at 5:10 a.m. GMT.
The 16,050,223 cases include 645,184 fatalities with the United States the worst hit country, registering 4,178,021 infections and 146,460 dead.
Latin America and the Caribbean have recorded 4,328,915 cases and 182,501 dead followed by Europe with 3,052,108 cases and 207,734 dead.
The spread of the pandemic continues to accelerate and more than five million cases have been declared since July 1, which represents a third of the total number of cases since the pandemic began.
The World Health Organization says more than a million cases had been recorded in each of the last five weeks, with over 280,000 being reported on July 24 alone.
The country with the highest number of deaths compared to its population is Belgium with 85 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Britain with 67, Spain 61, Italy 58, and Sweden 56.
The spiraling numbers are particularly worrying because the tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the WHO, probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.
Many countries are testing only symptomatic or the most serious cases while others still have limited testing capacity.
In Israel, Health Ministry figures released Saturday night showed there have been 60,496 virus cases recorded, with 455 deaths. There were 33,160 active cases, with 312 people in serious condition, 94 of whom were on ventilators. Since the beginning of the outbreak 26,882 people in Israel have recovered from COVID-19.