It took the world less than four months to reach the grim milestone, half the amount of time it took the novel coronavirus to kill the first million
The worldwide coronavirus death toll surpassed 2 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, as nations around the world are trying to procure multiple vaccines and detect new Covid-19 variants.
It took nine months for the world to record the first 1 million deaths from the novel coronavirus but only three months to go from 1 million to 2 million deaths, illustrating an accelerating rate of fatalities.
So far in 2021, deaths have averaged over 11,900 per day or one life lost every eight seconds, according to a Reuters tally.
“Our world has reached a heart-wrenching milestone,” United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said in a video statement.
“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 said, calling for more global coordination and funding for the vaccination effort.
By April 1, the global death toll could approach 2.9 million, according to a forecast from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Given how fast the virus is spreading due to more infectious variants, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned the worst could be ahead.
“We are going into a second year of this. It could even be tougher given the transmission dynamics and some of the issues that we are seeing,” Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies official, said during a Wednesday event.
The United States has the highest total number of deaths at over 386,000 and accounts for one in every four deaths reported worldwide each day. The next worst-affected countries are Brazil, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Combined, the five countries contribute to almost 50% of all Covid-19 deaths in the world but represent only 27% of the global population.
Europe, the worst-affected region in the world, has reported over 615,000 deaths so far and accounts for nearly 31% of all Covid-19 related deaths globally.
US news agency CNN reports that the death toll would be similar to 10 commercial jets full of passengers crashing every day, for a year.
Covid-19 took the same time to take two million lives, according to official records.
But the real number could be much higher, experts fear. With testing still inadequate in many countries across the world, there might be hundreds of thousands of additional deaths that were never reported.
Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, US, said an analysis of excess mortality suggests that as many as one-fifth of Covid-19 deaths might not be recorded, reports CNN.
“We have found that on average, total deaths are 20% higher than reported deaths,” he told CNN in an email, adding that the ratio varies substantially across different countries.
The world has been seeing a rapid increase in both deaths and new infection rates since the second wave of the pandemic hit the world in the second half of 2020.
A number of countries, including the United States, Germany, Sweden, Indonesia, Israel and Japan recorded their deadliest days of the pandemic in the past week. The number of cases globally is fast approaching 100 million.
The US has recorded by far the highest total death toll in the world, followed by Brazil, India and Mexico. But the pandemic has reached every corner of the globe, and only a few tiny, isolated nations have reported no deaths, reports CNN.
The virus has hit the elderly the hardest, but that doesn't mean young people aren't dying. Poorer people and member of ethnic minorities, immigrants and frontline workers are dying at much higher rates. But death has not spared celebrities and royalty either.
In India, which recently surpassed 151,000 deaths, vaccinations are set to begin on Saturday in an effort that authorities hope will see 300 million high-risk people inoculated over the next six to eight months.