The global death toll
surpassed 4 million on Wednesday, as the crisis devolved into a race between the vaccine and the highly contagious delta variant
According to estimates from the Peace Research
Institute Oslo, the number of lives lost in the last year and a half, as compiled by Johns Hopkins University
from official sources, is roughly equal to the number of people
killed in battle
in all of the world's wars since 1982.
The toll is three times the number of people killed in traffic accidents worldwide each year, and it is roughly equivalent to the population of Los Angeles
or the entire country of Georgia
, as well as more than half of Hong Kong
and close to 50% of New York City
Even so, it is widely assumed that the figure is an undercount due to missed cases or deliberate concealment.
Since the vaccine's introduction, the number of deaths per day has fallen to around 7,900, from over 18,000 in January.
However, in recent weeks, a mutant delta version of the virus discovered in India
has sparked global concern, spreading rapidly even in vaccination
success stories such as the United States
, the United Kingdom
, and Israel
In fact, for the first time since January, Britain recorded a one-day total of more than 30,000 new infections this week, despite the government's plans to lift all remaining lockdown restrictions in England
later this month.
Other countries have reinstated preventive measures, and officials are rushing to ramp up the vaccination campaign.
At the same time, the disaster has highlighted the disparity between the haves and have-nots, with vaccination drives barely getting underway in Africa
and other desperately poor parts of the world due to severe shortages of vaccines
The United States and other wealthy nations have agreed to share at least one billion doses with impoverished nations.
The United States has the highest reported death toll in the world, at over 600,000, or nearly one in every seven deaths, followed by Brazil
, which has more than 520,000, though the true numbers are believed to be much higher in Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro
's far-right government has long downplayed the virus.
The variants, uneven access to vaccines, and relaxation of precautions in wealthier countries are “a toxic combination that is very dangerous,” according to Ann Lindstrand, the World Health Organization
’s top immunization official.
Rather than viewing the crisis as a “me-and-myself-and-my-country” issue, she stated, “we need to get serious that this is a global problem that requires global solutions.”
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On our coronavirus hub page, you can find all of this and more.