The global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has now reached one million, according to the latest official tally, with more than 33 million cases of infections.
In total, 1,000,207 people have died according to Worldometer, which calculates the totals from sources including governments. The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, which also calculates global totals, was reporting a figure of 995,190.
The true toll is likely already over 1m however, due to differing definitions, time lags and suspected underreporting in some countries.
Since the first-known cases emerged at a Wuhan wet market in December 2019, the pattern of life has been drastically, perhaps in some ways irrevocably, altered the world over.
Within six months, COVID-19 had taken at least 500,000 lives and infected 10 million people. It has taken just half that time for the known death toll to double.
The virus has now spread to 210 countries and territories, infecting at least 32 million people.
Europe, which emerged as an early epicentre of the virus is now battling a second resurgence as the continent enters the winter months, with governments and citizens grappling with the prospect of renewed curbs on personal freedoms.
And with populists at the helm in US and Brazil, where both Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro have sought to publicly play down the seriousness of the virus and resisted mitigation efforts that could hamper the economy, the Americas remain the hardest-hit, having quickly seen their death tolls soar once the virus took hold.
Soon after, India emerged as a further hotspot, and continues to record new daily caseloads in the tens of thousands, with more than 85,000 infections identified on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the impact on the economy has little to no precedent, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in April describing the resulting global recession as “a crisis like no other”.
But while the abrupt plunges into the red cut an alarming trajectory, many economists were buoyed by the promise of a relatively sharp rise once lockdowns and curfews were lifted.
However, speaking on Thursday, the second-in-command at the IMF – which has poured US$90bn in funding to nations since the crisis began – warned that the recovery was taking longer than expected, and that it could take some countries years to return to states of growth.
Yet following an unprecedented reconcentration of scientific efforts worldwide, our ability to adapt to and combat the virus grow ever stronger.
The virus’s genetic makeup was quickly sequenced, allowing for successful tests to be quickly developed and creating groundwork for vaccine creation.
As contact-tracing systems around the world grow increasingly advanced, and work on creating faster, more accurate tests continues, trials are also underway on promising treatment methods, such as dexamethasone and convalescent blood plasma.
And of some 200 inoculations being developed globally, eight are in the final phase of clinical trials. The UK’s top advisors have suggested a vaccine could be widely available by autumn 2021. (Source: Independent UK)