— Gadgets

Global coronavirus deaths hit four million as countries grapple with Delta variant

The global death toll from COVID-19 has eclipsed four million as the crisis increasingly becomes a race between the vaccine and the highly contagious Delta variant.

The tally of lives lost in the past year and a half, as compiled from official sources by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the number of people killed in battle in all of the world’s wars since 1982, according to estimates from the Peace Research Institute Oslo.

The toll is three times the number of people killed in traffic accidents around the globe every year. Even then, it is widely believed to be an undercount because of overlooked cases or deliberate concealment.

With the advent of the vaccine, deaths a day have plummeted to about 7,900, after topping out at more than 18,000 a day in January.

But in recent weeks, the Delta variant of the virus first identified in India has set off alarms around the world, spreading rapidly even in vaccination success stories like the US, Britain and Israel.

Britain recorded a one-day total this week of more than 30,000 new infections for the first time since January, even as the government prepares to lift all remaining lockdown restrictions in England later this month.

Other countries have reimposed preventive measures, and authorities are rushing to step up the campaign to dispense shots.

Gravediggers are seen working on a grave at the Polynkovsky cemetery in Russia, which has the world's second highest mortality rate from COVID-19.

Gravediggers are seen working on a grave at the Polynkovsky cemetery in Russia, which has the world’s second highest mortality rate from COVID-19.

AAP

At the same time, the disaster has exposed the gap between the haves and the have-nots, with vaccination drives barely getting started in Africa and other desperately poor corners of the world because of extreme shortages of shots.

The US and other wealthy countries have agreed to share at least one billion doses with struggling countries.

The US has the world’s highest reported death toll, at over 600,000, or nearly one in seven deaths, followed by Brazil at more than 520,000, though the real numbers are believed to be much higher in Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right government has long played down the virus.

The variants, uneven access to vaccines and the relaxation of precautions in wealthier countries are “a toxic combination that is very dangerous,” warned Ann Lindstrand, a top immunisation official at the World Health Organization.

Instead of treating the crisis as a “me and myself and my country” problem, she said, “we need to get serious that this is a worldwide problem that needs worldwide solutions”.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button