Business & Finance
Global COVID-19 deaths pass five million
1 November 2021 -

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than five million people are known to have died of COVID-19 worldwide, 19 months since the pandemic began, BBC News reported on Monday.

This milestone comes amid warnings from health officials that cases and deaths in some places are rising for the first time in months.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates the pandemic's real global death toll could be two to three times higher than official records.

In the US, more than 745,800 people have died, making it the country with the highest number of recorded deaths. It is followed by Brazil, with 607,824 recorded deaths, and India, with 458,437.

However, health experts believe these numbers are under reported, partly because of deaths at home and those in rural communities.

Also, it has taken the world longer to reach the latest one million deaths than the previous two. It took over 110 days to go from four million deaths to five million. That is compared to just under 90 days to rise from three million to four million.

While vaccines have helped reduce the fatality rate, the WHO warned last week that the pandemic was "far from over".

More than seven billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, but there is a gap between rich and poor nations.

According to Oxford University's Our World in Data, only 3.6% of people in low income countries have been vaccinated.

Vaccines have allowed many countries to gradually open up, with most of the world now easing restrictions.

The BBC noted that COVID-19 vaccinations have made a huge difference to the number of people dying in the past six months, but not all countries have had equal access to shots which protect against the virus.

According to WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, if vaccine doses had been distributed fairly, "we would have reached our 40% target in every country by now".