The global COVID-19 death toll topped 2 million on Friday as vaccines developed at breakneck speed are rolled out around the world in an all-out campaign to defeat the threat.
The milestone was reached just over a year after the coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The death toll, compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is roughly equal to the population of Brussels, Mecca, Minsk or Vienna.
Although the tally is based on figures provided by government agencies around the world, the actual toll is said to be considerably higher, in part due to inadequate testing and the many deaths that have been blamed on other causes, especially the start of the epidemic.
It took eight months to kill a million people. It took less than four months after that to reach the next million.
“Behind this terrible number hide names and faces – the smile that will be nothing but a memory, the forever empty seat at the dinner table, the room that resonates with the silence of a loved one,” said declared UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. He said the toll “has been made worse by the lack of a coordinated global effort.”
“Science has succeeded, but solidarity has failed,” he said.
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