The global COVID-19 death toll yesterday rose past 1 million, according to a Reuters tally, a grim statistic in a pandemic that has devastated the global economy, overloaded health systems and changed the way people live.
The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus this year is now double the number of people who die annually from malaria — and the death rate has increased in the past few weeks as infections surge in several countries.
“Our world has reached an agonizing milestone,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.
“It’s a mind-numbing figure. Yet we must never lose sight of each and every individual life. They were fathers and mothers, wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues,” he said.
It took just three months for COVID-19 deaths to double from half a million, an accelerating rate of fatalities since the first death was recorded in China in early January.
More than 5,400 people are dying around the world every 24 hours, according to Reuters calculations based on this month’s averages, overwhelming funeral businesses and cemeteries.
That equates to about 226 people an hour, or one person every 16 seconds. In the time it takes to watch a 90-minute soccer match, 340 people die on average.
“So many people have lost so many people and haven’t had the chance to say goodbye,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a UN briefing in Geneva.
“Many, many of the people who died alone in medical circumstances where it’s a terribly difficult and lonely death,” she said.
Experts remain concerned that the official figures for deaths and cases globally significantly underrepresent the real tally because of inadequate testing and recording and the possibility of concealment by some countries.
The response to the pandemic has pitted proponents of health measures, such as lockdowns, against those intent on sustaining politically sensitive economic growth, with approaches differing from country to country.
The US, Brazil and India, which together account for nearly 45 percent of all COVID-19 deaths globally, have all lifted social distancing measures in recent weeks.
“The American people should anticipate that cases will rise in the days ahead,” US Vice President Mike Pence said on Monday.
US deaths stood at 205,132 and cases at 7.18 million by late Monday.
India has recorded the highest daily growth in infections in the world, with an average of 87,500 new cases a day since the beginning of this month.
On current trends, India would overtake the US as the country with the most confirmed cases by the end of the year, even as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government pushes ahead with easing lockdown measures in a bid to support a struggling economy.
‘GOOD SIGN’: Thanks to public efforts, the number of COVID-19 cases is on a downward trend, the minister of health said, but told people not to let their guard down The COVID-19 situation appears to be relatively stable and on a downward trend, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday, as he reported 185 domestic COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths. “This seems to be a relatively good sign,” Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), told a daily news briefing. In Taipei and New Taipei City, the overall situation seems to be heading in a good direction, he added. He attributed it to public efforts to control the spread of the virus, but warned people against letting their guard down. Of the new local cases, 83 are males and
PHASE 2: The firm’s CEO said that the results were good and the experimental vaccine safe, but added that hoped-for phase 3 trials would be expensive Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (高端疫苗) yesterday reported positive results from an interim analysis of phase 2 trials for its COVID-19 vaccine, saying that the vaccine demonstrated high seroconversion rates and geometric mean titer (GMT) figures. A seroconversion rate is the percentage of participants in a trial displaying virus-specific immune memory after being given a vaccine, while the GMT measures the level of neutralizing antibody response, Medigen said. The experimental vaccine has a seroconversion rate of 99.8 percent and its GMT was 662 among the participants aged 20 to 89, while the gauges rose to 99.9 percent and 733 respectively in participants aged
ROLLING OUT DOSES: The expansion aims to speed up Taiwan’s vaccination drive by making more Moderna jabs available to workers at hospitals, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday expanded the eligibility for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to all healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers in the highest vaccine priority group. The center said that 75,000 doses of the vaccine — half of the first batch Taiwan has received — were on Wednesday distributed to hospitals across the nation with specialized COVID-19 rooms, negative pressure wards and testing services. Thus far, they had only been offered to frontline healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers at the designated hospitals, it said. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the eligibility was
The EU is set to lift travel restrictions for US and Taiwanese residents as soon as this week, in the latest step toward a return to normal, despite concerns over the spread of potentially dangerous COVID-19 variants. Portugal, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, proposed adding Taiwan, the US, Albania, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Macau, the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Saudi Arabia and Serbia to a so-called “white list” of countries from which non-essential travel to the bloc is allowed, a diplomat familiar with the matter said. Assuming no objections, EU government envoys in Brussels would today approve the expanded