The global coronavirus death toll rose past a million on Tuesday, according to a Reuters tally, a grim statistic in a pandemic that has devastated the global economy, overloaded health systems and changed the way people live.
The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus this year is now double the number of people who die annually from malaria - and the death rate has increased in recent weeks as infections surge in several countries.
“Our world has reached an agonizing milestone,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement. “It’s a mind-numbing figure.”
It took just three months for COVID-19 deaths to double from half a million, an accelerating rate of fatalities since the first death was recorded in China in early January.
More than 5,400 people are dying around the world every 24 hours, according to Reuters calculations based on September averages, overwhelming funeral businesses and cemeteries.
The United States, Brazil and India, which together account for nearly 45% of all COVID-19 deaths globally, have all lifted social distancing measures in recent weeks.
“The American people should anticipate that cases will rise in the days ahead,” US Vice President Mike Pence warned on Monday. US deaths stood at 205,132 and cases at 7.18 million by late Monday.
REUTERS, 29 Sept, 2020