Global COVID-19 Deaths: 5 Million and Counting

More than 5 million people have officially died from COVID-19 less than two years into the global pandemic. COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and stroke. 

There have been 5,003,021 COVID-19 related deaths as of 1 November, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard

COVID-19 Dashboard as of 1 November 12:22 PM EST

In the United States, 746,021 people have died due to COVID-19, making it the country with the highest number of recorded deaths. Brazil has lost the second highest number of people, with over 605,000 deaths by 1 November.

“This is a defining moment in our lifetime,” Dr Albert Ko, an infectious disease specialist at the Yale School of Public Health, told AP News. “What do we have to do to protect ourselves so we don’t get to another 5 million?”

The death toll rivals the number of people killed in battles among nations since 1950, according to estimates from the Peace Research Institute Oslo.

Shifting COVID-19 hotspots: Europe experiencing ‘fourth wave’ 

International passengers at UK border controls – quarantine rules now based on where they were vaccinated, and not what vaccine they received.

Hot spots have shifted over the 22 months since the pandemic began, and parts of Europe are now reporting a “fourth wave”,  the only World Health Organization (WHO) region to report an increase in cases for the fourth week in a row. 

Cases in Belgium, Czechia, Hungary and Poland have  increased by 50% in October, according to the WHO.

Russia and Ukraine also have increased numbers of new cases, with a 15% and a 43% increase, respectively. 

And amid soaring COVID-19 cases in the UK, the government is now prioritising giving third vaccine booster shots to people, banking on the country’s high COVID-19 vaccination rate to prevent severe illness and death. 

“What’s uniquely different about this pandemic is it hit hardest the high-resource countries,” said Dr Wafaa El-Sadr, director of ICAP, a global health center at Columbia University. “That’s the irony of COVID-19.”

Wealthier nations with longer life expectancies have larger proportions of older people, cancer survivors and nursing home residents, all of whom are especially vulnerable to COVID-19, El-Sadr noted.

Decrease in cases in Africa, Western Pacific 

In contrast, the largest decrease in new weekly cases was reported in Africa (21%), followed by the Western Pacific Region (17%). 

India, which had experienced its second wave in early May, now has reported a lower daily death rate than wealthier countries such as Russia, the US, or the UK, though uncertainty remains around its figures. 

The country’s rural areas were devastated by this surge of cases in May, where health infrastructure was rickety and lacked trained healthcare workers, government support, and access. 

Africa remains the world’s least vaccinated region 

Health workers at Juba Teaching Hospital are waiting in line to have their first shot of COVID-19 vaccine.

However, while Africa reports decreased cases, the region remains the world’s least vaccinated region, with only 6% of Africans – 77 million people – fully vaccinated, while over 70% of high-income countries have already vaccinated more than 40% of their people

Only five African countries are likely to reach a WHO global goal of vaccinating 40% of their populations by the end of the year. “This devastating milestone reminds us that we are failing much of the world,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a written statement. “This is a global shame.”

Image Credits: Vital Strategies, JHU, @HeathrowAirport/AndrewFell .

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