COVID dystopia: Potential $5 gas, US deaths from COVID hit 1 million, and more virus news

Here’s a look at COVID news for today, May 16.

North Korea’s COVID explosion

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un criticized officials over slow medicine deliveries and mobilized the military to respond to a surge in suspected COVID-19 infections, as his nation struggled to contain a fever that has reportedly killed dozens and sickened nearly a million others in a span of three days.

North Korean health authorities said Monday that eight more people died and an additional 392,920 were newly found to have feverish symptoms. That brings the death toll to 50 and illnesses to more than 1.2 million, respectively. It’s a sharp jump from six dead and 350,000 sick reported last Friday, a day after the North said that it found that an unspecified number of people in capital Pyongyang tested positive for the omicron variant. Get more info here:

US deaths from COVID hit 1 million

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 hit 1 million on Monday, a once-unimaginable figure that only hints at the multitudes of loved ones and friends staggered by grief and frustration.

The confirmed number of dead is equivalent to a 9/11 attack every day for 336 days. It is roughly equal to how many Americans died in the Civil War and World War II combined. It’s as if Boston and Pittsburgh were wiped out.

“It is hard to imagine a million people plucked from this earth,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, who leads a new pandemic center at the Brown University School of Public Health in Providence, Rhode Island. “It’s still happening and we are letting it happen.” Read more information here:

$5 gas could become widespread as prices hit another record

Prices at the pump continue to shatter records ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

The national average for regular gas hit a fresh record of $4.48 a gallon Monday, according to AAA. That marks an increase of 15 cents in the past week and 40 cents in a month.

Gas prices are now up by 27% from the day before Russia invaded Ukraine.

“Everything is pointing toward even higher prices. We are well on our way toward $5,” Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, told CNN Monday. Find out more here:

Tourism favorite in Africa now at ‘high’ risk for Covid-19

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has placed a popular African destination in its “high” Covid-19 risk category for travelers.

South Africa — renowned for its stunning vistas, wildlife, wineries and culture — is now at Level 3. In total, the CDC moved up four destinations to the “high” risk column on Monday. Read more on what those countries are here:

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Get a look at more of today’s COVID-19 news here: