Coronavirus Deaths Hit 300,000 Worldwide
More than 300,000 people throughout the world have now died from the coronavirus, according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University, as the pandemic crossed yet another milestone on Thursday.
More than 4.4 million cases have also been reported, according to the university’s tally. Given the varied ways in which different countries report Covid-19 figures and the enormous societal impact of the pandemic, the actual number of infections and fatalities could be far higher.
Nevertheless, the towering death toll captures a world diminished to a standstill by the virus, with governments just starting to sneak out of crippling lockdowns and powerhouses like the United States and the United Kingdom still struggling to get a handle on their outbreaks.
It arrives as a World Health Organization official cautioned that the virus “may never go away.”
More than a quarter of the global deaths i.e., more than 85,000, have occurred in the United States, where deaths rose throughout April and proceed to soar at a rate of around 1,500 a day. For weeks, the country has undergone more cumulative deaths than any other.
But most U.S. states have nevertheless made plans to start a phased reopening, with almost every state loosening some limitations by this week.
Following the U.S. in the highest death sum is the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and then France, but Brazil is speedily jumping up as Latin America seems to be the next hot spot for viral outbreaks.
The United Kingdom and Italy accounted for another 10-11% each, which means 30,000 fatalities each, while France and Spain have reported more than 27,000 deaths each.
Brazil has recorded more than 13,000 deaths. Mexico has meanwhile suffered more than 4,000 fatalities.
In Europe, which had been battered by the virus shortly before the Americas, some countries are starting to announce more decisive steps. Former hotspots Spain and Italy are carefully moving towards resuming some businesses and are consistently reporting regular deaths in the hundreds — far lower than in March and early April.
But the outlook is direr in the United Kingdom, which has seen the deadliest outbreak on the continent, according to official figures.
The number of deaths linked to COVID-19 in just four months is equivalent to about three-quarters of the fraction of people who die yearly from malaria, one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases.
And while the current trajectory falls far low of the 1918 Spanish flu, which affected an estimated 500 million people and killed at least 10% of patients, public health experts worry the available data is underplaying the real impact of the pandemic.
The first COVID-19 death was reported on Jan. 10 in Wuhan, China. According to the Reuters tally of official reports from governments, it took 91 days for the death toll to pass 100,000 but just a further 16 days to reach 200,000. It took 19 days to reach from 200,000 to 300,000 deaths.
The death tolls across Asia and the Middle East have been significantly lower despite densely populated countries and often weaker health care measures, raising concerns among health authorities that the real numbers are considerably higher.
On Wednesday, officials with the World Health Organization said that even if a coronavirus vaccine is developed, which could be a year away, the virus may still not be eliminated entirely and could circulate within communities. Many experts are expecting a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic to hit, possibly in autumn.
Header image: Workers wear personal protective equipment while carrying a casket due to coronavirus concerns during a funeral in Brooklyn borough of New York. Image Source: AP