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17th Apr 2021

Global Covid death toll passes three million

Charlie Herbert

It’s another grim milestone in the pandemic

The number of people worldwide who have died of Covid-19 has now passed three million. This is according to the data from John Hopkins University.

The news comes just a day after the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the world was “approaching the highest rate of infection” yet.

On Saturday alone, India recorded more than 230,000 new Covid cases, and globally almost 140 million cases have now been recorded.

Over a third of the deaths recorded have been in the US, India and Brazil.

WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on Friday that cases and deaths across the globe are “continuing to increase at worrying rates,” adding that “globally, the number of new cases per week has nearly doubled over the past two months.”

As has been the case since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic though, the official figures are likely to tell only half the story with so many cases and deaths likely to have gone unrecorded, particularly in countries where testing rates are low.

India in particular has seen a shocking rise in cases in recent weeks. Throughout January and February the country was recording around 20,000 cases a day, an impressive figure for a country of 1.3 billion people.

However that figure has now risen to over 200,000 cases a day, with Saturday setting a record number of cases in one day for a third day in a row.

Meanwhile, Brazil is still struggling to keep the virus under control, and on Friday the health ministry there announced more than 85,000 Covid-19 cases and 3,305 deaths for the previous 24 hour period.

Canada is now recording more cases per million people than the US, and Papua New Guinea has been highlighted as an area of concern by the WHO. Dr Tedros has said there is “the potential for a much larger pandemic there”.

Things are not helped by the stark differences in vaccine rollouts between nations. Dr Tedros told UN officials on Friday that vaccine equity “is the challenge of our time – and we are failing.”

Countries such as the UK and Israel where vaccine rollout and uptake has been high have seen case rates drop dramatically.

However many countries are yet to even receive their first shipments of vaccine. Dr Tedros has said that the difference is as stark as one in four people receiving a vaccine in high-income nations compared to one in 400 in poorer countries.