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Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 deaths exceed one million

Workers dressed in hazmat suits bury the coffin of a person who died of coronavirus in Jakarta, Indonesia, September 23, 2020Image copyright


Funerals for victims, as here in Indonesia, must be performed under strict security

The number of people worldwide who have died with Covid-1

9 has passed one million, researchers say, with many regions still reporting an increasing number of new infections.

The speech from Johns Hopkins University shows that deaths in the United States, Brazil and India make up almost half of the total number.

Experts warn that the true figure is likely to be much higher.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called it a “mindless” figure and “a painful milestone”.

“Yet we must never lose sight of every single life,” he said in a video message.

“They were fathers and mothers, wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues. The pain is multiplied by the savagery of this disease.”

The development comes almost 10 months after the news of coronavirus started popping up from Wuhan, China.

The pandemic has since spread to 188 countries with more than 32 million confirmed cases. Lockdowns and other measures to try to stop the spread of the virus have thrown many economies into recession.

Meanwhile, efforts to develop an effective vaccine continue – although the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the number of deaths could reach two million before one is widely available.

The United States has the world’s highest death toll with around 205,000 deaths, followed by Brazil on 141,700 and India with 95,500 deaths.

Where does Covid-19 spread fastest?

The United States has registered more than seven million cases – more than one-fifth of the world’s total. After another wave of cases in July, the number dropped in August, but appears to be rising again now.

Coronavirus has spread rapidly in India, and the country registers about 90,000 cases a day earlier in September.

  • Where are the global coronavirus hotspots?

Confirmed infections in India have reached six million – the second highest after the United States. However, given the size of the population, India has seen a relatively low mortality rate.

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Brazil has the highest number of deaths in Latin America and has registered more than 4.7 million cases, the third highest in the world.

Elsewhere in the region, newly confirmed infections are also rising rapidly in Argentina, which now has more than 700,000 cases.

Because of differences in how countries record cases and deaths – and the sporadic testing frequency in some regions – the true number of coronavirus cases and deaths is thought to be higher than reported, experts say.

How is the hunt for a vaccine going?

Globally, there are about 240 potential vaccines in early development, of which 40 are in clinical trials and nine in the final phase of testing on thousands of people. Vaccine development usually takes several years, but due to the global emergency, researchers are working at breakneck speed.

One developed by the University of Oxford – already in an advanced testing phase – has shown that it can trigger an immune response and an agreement has been signed with AstraZeneca to deliver 100 million doses in the UK alone.

  • When do we get a vaccine?
  • Who would get the vaccine and how?

In China, a potential vaccine has been shown to produce protective antibodies and is made available to the Chinese military. However, concerns have been raised about the rate at which the vaccine is being produced.

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Meanwhile, researchers in Russia say that early tests on a vaccine called Sputnik-V show signs of an immune response.

In a report earlier this month, they said each participant in trials developed antibodies to fight the virus and did not suffer any serious side effects.

Russia licensed the vaccine for local use in August – the first country to do so. Again, there was concern about the speed of the process, and some experts said the early trials had been too small to prove efficacy and safety.

In the United States, President Donald Trump has said that Americans should be able to access a vaccine as early as October, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a vaccine is unlikely to be widely available by mid-2021.

The WHO has said it does not expect to see widespread vaccinations against Covid-19 until mid-2021.

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