Coronavirus has now infected more than 10million people around the world in the most devastating pandemic in a century.
The number of confirmed infections passed the staggering milestone today, Sunday June 28, according to an online map run by Johns Hopkins University in the US.
Data collected from governments around the world showed that 10,015,904 people had been infected with the disease by today and 499,486 had died.
The US has borne the brunt of the global outbreak’s numbers, recording more than 2.5million confirmed cases – a quarter of the total – followed by 1.3m in Brazil, 633,000 in Russia and 311,000 in the UK.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, a leading scientist advising politicians in Britain, said even these harrowing figures are ‘in reality both underestimates’.
The World Health Organization said the number of Covid-19 cases is more than double the number of severe flu cases the world would see in a normal year.
Covid-19 first appeared in China in January and has since spread to almost every country on Earth on people travelling internationally while infected.
Data collected from governments around the world by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in the US shows that the coronavirus has spread to almost every corner of the globe
Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of British research charity the Wellcome Trust, and a member of government advisory group SAGE, said in a tweet: ‘Sobering.
‘More than 10 million confirmed cases and 500,000 deaths globally directly attributed to COVID19 in ~6 months. In reality both underestimates.
‘Highly populated regions of [Central and South] America, South Asia, Africa not yet experienced full impact of 1st wave. Globally accelerating.’
The milestone comes as many hard-hit countries, including Britain, Italy and Spain, are easing lockdowns.
But they must embrace a new normal as they do this, with strict social distancing, working from home and restricted social lives in places for months more.
Some countries are experiencing a resurgence in infections, leading authorities to partially reinstate lockdowns, in what experts say could be a recurring pattern in the coming months and into 2021.
North America, Latin America and Europe each account for around 25 per cent of cases, while Asia and the Middle East have around 11 per cent and nine per cent respectively, according to Reuters.
There have been more than 497,000 fatalities linked to the disease so far, roughly the same as the number of influenza deaths reported annually.
The first cases of the new coronavirus were confirmed on January 10 in Wuhan in China, before infections and fatalities surged in Europe, then the United States, and later Russia.
The pandemic has now entered a new phase, with India and Brazil battling outbreaks of over 10,000 cases a day, putting a major strain on resources.
The two countries accounted for over a third of all new cases in the past week. Brazil reported a record 54,700 new cases on June 19.
Some researchers said the death toll in Latin America could rise to over 380,000 by October, from around 100,000 this week.
The total number of cases continued to increase at a rate of between 1-2 per cent a day in the past week, down from rates above 10 per cent in March.
Countries including China, New Zealand and Australia have seen new outbreaks in the past month, despite largely quashing local transmission.
In Beijing, where hundreds of new cases were linked to an agricultural market, testing capacity has been ramped up to 300,000 a day.
The United States, which has reported the most cases of any country at more than 2.5 million, managed to slow the spread of the virus in May, only to see it expand in recent weeks to rural areas and other places that were previously unaffected.
In some countries with limited testing capabilities, case numbers reflect a small proportion of total infections. Roughly half of reported infections are known to have recovered.
MILLIONS MORE PEOPLE COULD DIE IN GLOBAL SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19, WHO WARNS
Millions of people across the world could die if there is a second wave of coronavirus infections, the World Health Organisation warned on Friday.
Dr Ranieri Guerra, an assistant director-general for strategic initiatives at the WHO, said the pandemic had so far spread as health officials had anticipated.
Comparing COVID-19 to the Spanish Flu outbreak more than 100 years ago, Mr Guerra said the older pandemic ‘fiercely resumed’ in September and October – when temperatures were cooler – after a dip.
He told Italy’s Rai TV: ‘The comparison is with the Spanish Flu, which behaved exactly like Covid: it went down in the summer and fiercely resumed in September and October, creating 50 million deaths during the second wave.’
His warning was echoed by European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, who said on Friday that ‘of course there could a severe second wave if we learn anything from the Spanish Flu of 1918-19.’
The Spanish Flu outbreak ravaged numerous countries around the world, including Britain, where there were more than 220,000 deaths and the US, where 675,000 died.
The virus first appeared in the spring of 1918 but appears to have mutated when it surged again in the fall, making for a deadlier second wave.
It was made worse by the fact it struck as the First World War was coming to an end.
‘It came back roaring and was much worse,’ epidemiologist Dr. William Hanage of Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health said.