Regrettable milestone breached as poorer countries continue lagging behind their counterparts on the vaccination front.
According to data from the Johns Hopkins University, more than four million people around the world have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the first case was reported in China about 18 months ago – highlighting the disease’s irreversible toll on human lives. The hardest hit countries – the U.S., Brazil and India – account for more than a third of all deaths reported globally. The U.S alone has had more than 600,000 deaths, accounting for 15%, while Brazil accounts for about 520,000, though the real numbers for the South American country are believed to be much higher. The grim milestone was reached on Wednesday, and comes as the more transmissible Delta variant – first identified in India - continues to wreak havoc across the world.
Addressing a press conference in Geneva, the World Health Organization’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the moment “a perilous point in this pandemic” and expressed concerns that the figure could very well be an underestimation. “We have just passed the tragic milestone of four million recorded COVID-19 deaths, which likely underestimates the overall toll", said Tedros. While the Covax initiative has helped widen access to live saving vaccines, Tedros also lamented vaccine nationalism, which has seen a handful of countries try to hoard as much supply as possible at the expense of poorer countries. While much of the developed countries push ahead with their vaccination campaigns, poorer countries still lag behind, despite some successes.