New York: More than two million people have now lost their lives to the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide, with United Nations chief António Guterres lamenting the impact of the “vicious virus”.
“Our world has reached a heart-wrenching milestone,” Mr Antonio announced on Friday in a video marking the moment.
“Behind this staggering number are names and faces: the smile now only a memory, the seat forever empty at the dinner table, the room that echoes with the silence of a loved one,” he added, calling for greater global solidarity to fund vaccination efforts and urging citizens to stick to containment measures such as physical distancing and masks.
Data from Johns Hopkins University showed the latest Covid milestone was reached on Friday, with an average of 11,900 daily deaths being recorded this year, according to Reuters. That means somebody is currently dying every eight seconds because of Covid.
The global death toll hit one million in late September, nine months after the new coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Disturbingly, it has taken just over three months for that number to double, with some of the worst hit countries – including the US, Brazil, Mexico and the UK – currently witnessing a surge in infections and deaths.
“What was never on the horizon is that so many of the deaths would be in the richest countries in the world,” Dr Bharat Pankhania, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Exeter, told the Associated Press. “That the world’s richest countries would mismanage so badly is just shocking.”
The US has the world’s highest official death toll and, with more than 386,000 fatalities, accounts for one in every four deaths reported worldwide each day.
The next worst affected countries are Brazil, with more than 207,000 deaths; India with 152,000; Mexico with 138,000; and the UK with more than 86,000.
Together those five countries contribute to almost 50% of all Covid-19 deaths in the world but represent just 27% of the global population, Reuters reported.
Europe, the worst-affected region in the world, has reported over 615,000 deaths so far and accounts for nearly 31% of all Covid-related deaths globally.