Fri | Oct 23, 2020

Worldwide death toll from coronavirus eclipses 1 million

Published:Tuesday | September 29, 2020 | 9:34 AM
In this July 15, 2020, file photo, cemetery workers in protective clothing bury three victims of COVID-19 at the Vila Formosa cemetery in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (AP Photo/Andre Penner, File)

NEW DELHI (AP) — The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus has eclipsed one million, nine months into a crisis that has devastated the global economy, tested world leaders’ resolve, pitted science against politics and forced multitudes to change the way they live, learn and work.

“It’s not just a number. It’s human beings. It’s people we love,” said Dr Howard Markel, a professor of medical history at the University of Michigan who has advised government officials on containing pandemics and lost his 84-year-old mother to COVID-19 in February.

“It’s our brothers, our sisters. It’s people we know,” he added. “And if you don’t have that human factor right in your face, it’s very easy to make it abstract.”

The bleak milestone, recorded on Monday in the US by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of Jerusalem or Austin, Texas.

It is 2 1/2 times the sea of humanity that was at Woodstock in 1969.

It is more than four times the number killed by the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

Even then, the figure is almost certainly a vast undercount because of inadequate or inconsistent testing and reporting and suspected concealment by some countries.

And the number continues to mount.

Nearly 5,000 deaths are reported each day on average. Parts of Europe are getting hit by new outbreaks, and experts fear a second wave in the US, which accounts for about 205,000 deaths, or 1 out of 5 worldwide.

That is far more than any other country, despite America’s wealth and medical resources.

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