The novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, has killed more than one million people worldwide, marking another sad milestone in the pandemic’s devastating history.
The grim tally has been reached in less than nine months since the first death caused by the disease was confirmed by Chinese authorities in the city of Wuhan, China.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University Tuesday morning, the death toll from COVID-19 now stands at 1,001,821.
The deaths were recorded from 33,364,077 confirmed cases in 188 countries/regions. However, 23,154,151 cases have recovered.
The United States has been the worst hit country, recording 205,085 deaths from 7,149,073 cases. Brazil and India are behind the US with 142,058 and 96,318 deaths respectively.
The milestone came hours after Nigeria confirmed a total of 1,111 deaths from 58,460 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Nigeria recorded its first death from the disease on March 22, 2020. According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the victim had underlying medical conditions – multiple myeloma and diabetes – and was undergoing chemotherapy before returning to Nigeria from the United Kingdom.
But the official figures probably underestimate the true total, a senior World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Monday.
“If anything, the numbers currently reported probably represent an underestimate of those individuals who have either contracted Covid-19 or died as a cause of it,” Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert, told a briefing in Geneva.
“When you count anything, you can’t count it perfectly but I can assure you that the current numbers are likely an underestimate of the true toll of Covid.”
Many around the world are pinning their hopes for a return to normal life on the swift development of a COVID-19 vaccine. There are currently 35 vaccines in human trials around the world but no certainty as to when any will be approved for general use.
Chief science officer at the WHO, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, warned that it could be 2022 before people can begin thinking about returning to “pre-Covid” life.