World

Global coronavirus death toll exceeds 3,00,000

Reuters Chicago/Sydney | Updated on May 15, 2020 Published on May 15, 2020

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US, UK and Italy lead toll

Global coronavirus deaths passed 3,00,000 on Thursday as infections approached 4.5 million, according to a Reuters tally, with the United States responsible for more than a quarter of all fatalities.

The United Kingdom and Italy accounted for another 10-11 per cent each, while France and Spain accounted for 9 per cent each.

The number of deaths linked to Covid-19 in just four months is now equal to about three-quarters of the number of people who die annually from malaria, one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases.

While the current trajectory falls far short of the 1918 Spanish flu, which infected an estimated 500 million people and killed at least 10 per cent of patients, public health experts worry the available data is underplaying the true impact of the pandemic.

The first Covid-19 death was reported on January 10 in Wuhan, China. It took 91 days for the death toll to pass 1,00,000 but just a further 16 days to reach 2,00,000, according to the Reuters tally of official reports from governments. It took 19 days to go from 2,00,000 to 3,00,000 deaths.

‘Darkest winter’ ahead?

The grim milestone of 300,000 deaths was reached as a US government whistleblower said the United States could face “the darkest winter” of recent times if it does not improve its response to the pandemic.

 

“Our window of opportunity is closing,” Rick Bright, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, testified to a US House of Representatives panel.

“If we fail to improve our response now, based on science, I fear the pandemic will get worse and be prolonged,” Bright, who said he was removed from the post for raising concerns about preparedness, told the panel. He has been re-assigned to another government job.

The United States has reported more than 85,000 deaths from the new coronavirus. The United Kingdom and Italy have reported more than 30,000 fatalities each and France and Spain have reported more than 27,000 each.

Brazil claims the sixth highest death toll with a much lower 13,149 fatalities, but its casualty rate is climbing quickly. It has reported an average of almost 700 new cases each day over the past week.

The death tolls across Asia have been significantly lower despite heavily populated nations and often lower standards of health care, raising concerns among health experts that the true numbers are far higher.

Published on May 15, 2020

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