The number of deaths linked to COVID-19 in just five months is now equal to the number of people who die annually from malaria, one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases.
The first COVID-19 death was reported on January 10 in Wuhan, China but it was early April before the death toll passed 100,000, according to the tally of official reports from governments. It took 23 days to go from 300,000 to 400,000 deaths.
The US has the highest death toll in the world at almost 110,000. Fatalities in Brazil are rising rapidly and the country may overtake Britain to have the second-largest number of deaths in the world.
Brazil’s government has stopped publishing a running total of coronavirus deaths and infections in an extraordinary move that critics call an attempt to hide the true toll of the disease in Latin America’s largest nation.
The Saturday move came after months of criticism from experts saying Brazil’s statistics are woefully deficient, and in some cases manipulated, so it may never be possible to gain a real understanding of the depth of the pandemic in the country.
Brazil’s last official numbers showed it had recorded over 34,000 deaths related to the coronavirus, the third-highest number in the world, just ahead of Italy. It reported nearly 615,000 infections, putting it at the second-highest, behind the United States. Brazil, with about 210 million people, is the globe’s seventh most populous nation.
India reported 9971 new coronavirus cases on Sunday in another biggest single-day spike, a day before it prepares to reopen shopping centres, hotels and religious places after a 10-week lockdown.
India has now surpassed Spain as the fifth hardest-hit by the pandemic with 246,628 confirmed cases and 6929 fatalities.
New Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad are among the worst-hit cities in the country. Six of India’s 28 states account for 73 per cent of total cases.
India has already partially restored train services and domestic flights and allowed shops and manufacturing to reopen. E-commerce companies have started to deliver goods, including those considered nonessential, to places outside containment zones.
Subways, schools and movie theatres remain closed.
The total number of deaths worldwide is believed to be higher than the officially reported 400,000 as many countries lack supplies to test all victims and some countries do not count deaths outside of a hospital.
Academic groups in dozens of nations have tried to figure out the magnitude of the undercount by studying the total number of deaths in a set period compared to the average of prior years in a particular nation, state, province or city. Where they find unexplained surges in deaths, it is likely due in large part to undiagnosed cases of the coronavirus.