The global death toll from the coronavirus soared past 3 million people Saturday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, with cases still surging in many parts of the planet, as nations throughout the world attempt to vaccinate as much of the population as possible.
The first death from the virus was reported by Chinese state media on January 11, 2020, and it would take 260 days before Covid-19 claimed its 1 millionth victim worldwide on September 28.
Some 108 days later, on January 14, 2021, the worldwide total surpassed two million fatalities.
Saturday marks 93 days in between the somber signposts of 2 million and 3 million deaths.
With more than 566,000 coronavirus-related fatalities, the United States has the highest number of recorded deaths, with Brazil second with 368,700 deaths and Mexico third with 211,700.
However, experts believe the actual number of deaths is much higher due to cases that have gone undiagnosed, particularly in the early stages of the outbreak, and deliberate government concealment of the death toll in some countries.
For example, the New York Times reported last week, based on analysis of mortality data, that total deaths in Russia last year were 28% percent higher than normal—362,302 “excess deaths” in a country that reported just 57,002 fatalities attributable to the coronavirus.
While the rate of the spread of the virus in the U.S. has held at a high plateau since mid-February, thanks in part to its successful vaccine rollout (30% of American adults are fully vaccinated), case counts, hospitalizations and deaths are spiking elsewhere. "Globally, the number of new cases per week has nearly doubled over the past two months,' WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday, adding, "This is approaching the highest rate of infection that we have seen so far during the pandemic." India reported 234,692 new infections on Friday, raising the total number of cases to more than 14.5 million (second only to the U.S), as deaths rose by 1,341 to over 175,000. Brazil, where the P.1 variant was first detected, is also dealing with a dangerous spike, as they reported 3,305 new fatalities on Friday. Last week, a senior World Health Organization official warned that Brazil was facing a "raging inferno of an outbreak." Tedros has declared that the WHO will prioritize increasing global access to Covid-19 vaccines. Earlier this year, he said that vaccine hoarding would not only be a "catastrophic moral failure" but that it would keep "the pandemic burning" and would result in a "very slow" global economic recovery.
1 in 500. That's the number of people who have received a vaccine in poor countries, according to the Associated Press, compared to wealthy nations, where 1 in 4 people have been at least partially vaccinated. Rich countries have received 87% of the 700 million vaccine doses, the AP reports, and up to 60 countries might not receive any additional supply until June.
WHO: Vaccine Hoarding Would Be A "Catastrophic Moral Failure" That Keeps "Pandemic Burning" (Forbes)
European Covid-19 Deaths Pass 1 Million In Race Between Vaccines And Variants (Forbes)
Covid infection rate is approaching highest level ever, WHO chief warns (CNBC)