Global Covid-19 Death Toll Crosses One Million Mark

The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus eclipsed 1 million on Tuesday, nine months into a crisis.

The spread of the novel coronavirus in India has quickened in the last few days with new infections are rising rapidly. Coronavirus cases in India on Monday, 28 September, crosses 60 lakh mark with 82,170 new cases. The death toll reached 95,542 with 1,039 deaths in 24 hours.

The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus eclipsed 1 million on Tuesday, nine months into a crisis that has devastated the global economy. It has tested world leaders’ resolve, pitted science against politics, and forced multitudes to change the way they live, learn and work.

“It’s not just a number. It’s human beings. It’s people we love,” said Dr. Howard Markel, a professor of medical history at the University of Michigan who has advised government officials on containing pandemics and lost his 84-year-old mother to Covid-19 in February.

“It’s our brothers, our sisters. It’s people we know,” he added. “And if you don’t have that human factor right in your face, it’s very easy to make it abstract.”

It is two and half times the sea of humanity that was at Woodstock in 1969. It is more than four times the number killed in the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

Even then, the figure is almost certainly a vast undercount because of inadequate or inconsistent testing and reporting and suspected concealment by some countries.

And the number continues to mount. Nearly 5,000 deaths are reported each day on average.

Parts of Europe are getting hit by a second wave, and experts fear the same fate may await the US, which accounts for about 205,000 deaths, or 1 out of 5 worldwide. That is far more than any other country, despite America’s wealth and medical resources.

“I can understand why numbers are losing their power to shock, but I still think it’s really important that we understand how big these numbers really are,” said Mark Honigsbaum, author of “The Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria, and Hubris.”

Brazil has recorded the second most deaths after the US, with about 142,000. The virus has killed more than 95,000 in India.

While India’s total number of coronavirus cases and fatalities per million population is one of the lowest in the world. India’s trajectory of deaths due to the coronavirus disease in the last week is continuously rising above the United States’ and Brazil’s.

According to the Health Ministry data, there are currently 9,62,640 active cases across the country, while 50,16,520 patients have been discharged, and one had earlier migrated.

The virus first appeared in late 2019 in patients hospitalized in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first death was reported on Jan. 11. By the time authorities locked down the city nearly two weeks later, millions of travelers had come and gone.

The virus has forced trade-offs between safety and economic well-being. The choices made have left millions of people vulnerable, especially the poor, minorities, and the elderly.

With so many of the deaths beyond view in hospital wards and clustered on society’s margins, the milestone recalls the grim pronouncement often attributed to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin: One death is a tragedy, millions of deaths are a statistic.

The pandemic”s toll of 1 million dead in such a limited time rivals some of the gravest threats to public health, past and present.

It exceeds annual deaths from AIDS, which last year killed about 690,000 people worldwide. The virus’s toll is approaching the 1.5 million global deaths each year from tuberculosis, which regularly kills more people than any other infectious disease.

But “Covid”s grip on humanity is incomparably greater than the grip of other causes of death,” said Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University. He noted the unemployment, poverty, and despair caused by the pandemic and deaths from myriad other illnesses that have gone untreated.

For all its lethality, the virus has claimed far fewer lives than the so-called Spanish flu, which killed an estimated 40 million to 50 million worldwide in two years, just over a century ago.

“We’re only at the beginning of this. We’re going to see many more weeks ahead of this pandemic than we’ve had behind us,” Gostin said.

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