Global COVID-19 deaths hit four million amid rush to vaccinate
The global COVID-19 death toll eclipsed four million Wednesday as the crisis increasingly becomes a race between the vaccine and the highly contagious delta variant. The fatalities over the past year and a half—compiled from official sources by Johns Hopkins University—are about equal to the number of people killed in battle in all of the world's wars since 1982, estimates Peace Research Institute Oslo.
Death toll is equal to the population of Los Angeles
The global toll is thrice the number of people killed in traffic accidents around the globe every year. It's about equal to the population of Los Angeles or the country, Georgia. It's equivalent to more than half of Hong Kong's population or close to 50% of New York City. Still, the toll is believed to be undercounted because of overlooked cases of deliberate concealment.
Delta variant spreading rapidly even in vaccination success stories
With the advent of the vaccine, deaths per day have plummeted to around 7,900, after topping out at over 18,000 a day in January. But in recent weeks, the mutant Delta version of the virus first identified in India has set off alarms around the world, spreading rapidly even in vaccination success stories like the US, Britain, and Israel.
Many countries have reimposed preventive measures
Britain, in fact, recorded a one-day total this week of more than 30,000 new infections for the first time since January, even as the government prepares to lift all remaining lockdown restrictions in England later this month. Other countries, meanwhile, have reimposed preventive measures, and authorities are also rushing to step up the campaign to dispense shots.
Vaccination drives barely started in poor corners of the world
At the same time, the disaster has globally exposed the gap between the haves and the have-nots, with vaccination drives barely getting started in Africa and other desperately poor corners of the world because of extreme shortages of shots. The US and other wealthy countries have agreed to share at least one billion doses with struggling countries.
US has world's highest reported death toll, followed by Brazil
Currently, the US has the world's highest reported death toll at over 600,000, followed by Brazil at more than 520,000, though the real numbers are believed to be much higher in Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro's far-right government has long downplayed the virus.
Variants, vaccines shortage, relaxations are a 'toxic combination': WHO official
The variants, uneven access to vaccines, and the relaxation of precautions in wealthier countries are a toxic combination that is very dangerous, warned Ann Lindstrand, a top immunization official at the World Health Organization (WHO). Instead of treating the crisis as a me-and-myself-and-my-country problem, she said, we need to get serious that this is a worldwide problem that needs worldwide solutions.