Seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, over 16 million people around the world have been infected, nearly 650,000 have died, and almost 10 million have recovered from the contagion, data from worldometers.info has revealed.
The latest statistics imply that the pandemic is still gathering pace with the rate of new infections showing no sign of slowing down, especially in hard-hit countries in America and Europe.
After the first set of COVID-19 cases were reported in Wuhan, China, in early January, it took about 15 weeks to reach two million cases. By contrast, it took just eight days to climb above 15 million from 13 million reached on July 13.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) head, Tedros Ghebreyesus, had in the first week of July when the virus crossed the 10 million thresholds warned that the worst should still be expected, noting that the virus would infect many more people if governments did not start to implement the right policies.
Health experts stress that official data almost certainly underreports both infections and deaths, particularly in countries with limited testing capacity.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country has tested just about 250,000 of its over 200 million population and found nearly 40,000 infections leading to more than 850 deaths.
On April 28, the Nigerian government announced its target of testing at least two million people within the next three months. The ambitious 90 days’ target will elapse on July 28, yet the country is yet to cover 20 per cent of the two million.
The WHO declared the coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, when there were 118,000 confirmed cases and 4,000 had died.
The first 41 cases were confirmed in Wuhan, China, on January 10. But the virus has since spread to the world’s six continents and over 200 countries.
As the virus continues to spread, life, as it were, is no longer the same with billions across the world trying to recover from the economic impact of the virus. Hospitals are under strain as confirmed infections increase.
For most of its victims, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks after a combination of treatment therapy, leading to the recovery of almost six million sufferers.
But the contagion is far more deadly for especially older adults and people with existing health problems. It can cause severe pneumonia that can make breathing almost impossible for the victim.
There is no vaccine yet for COVID-19 and the pathogen has been mutating in its pattern of spread. A study found that the disease can spread through the air and remains contagious for hours.
As of the time of filing this report, there are 16,202,385 confirmed cases across the globe, data from worldometers.info, an online dashboard that tracks the global number of confirmed coronavirus cases, showed.
These official figures have at least tripled the number of severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to WHO data.
The four worst-hit countries: the U.S., Brazil, Russia and India alone have a combined figure of nearly nine million infections, more than half of the global total.
There are 5,640,708 active cases as of the time of reporting. Of that number, about 5,574,505 (99 per cent) are in mild conditions while only 66,203 (1 per cent) cases are in serious or critical conditions.
Meanwhile, about 9, 913, 232 people have recovered after treatment so far worldwide.
As of the time of reporting, about 648,445 people have succumbed to coronavirus. This death toll recorded in seven months is close to the upper range of yearly influenza deaths.
The United States which already has the highest number of reported infections in the world – 4,315,709 – is also the country with the highest death toll of nearly 150,000.
Some experts believe the death toll could be higher as many people suspected of the disease die without being tested.
Countries have continued to report inadequate testing kits for potential patients of the virus.
The top five hardest-hit countries are the U.S., Brazil, India, Russia, and South Africa.
While the pandemic worsened in the United States, President Donald Trump’s focus ahead of a presidential election in November has been on reopening the economy, and governors in the hard-hit states of Texas, Florida and Georgia continue to push back hard against calls for stricter restrictions.
In Brazil, more than 2.3 million people have tested positive including President Jair Bolsonaro, and more than 86,000 people have died. While Mr Bolsonaro has played down the outbreak, its scale has made Brazil a prime testing ground for potential vaccines.
India, with over a million cases, reported almost 40,000 infections on Wednesday. Having been keen to reopen its economy, India is now facing the twin challenge of combating the pandemic and massive flooding in the country’s northeast.
Russia confirmed 5,871 new coronavirus infections Saturday, bringing the country’s official number of cases to 806,720.
Over the past 24 hours, 146 people have died in Russia, bringing the total toll to 13,192 — a rate considerably lower than in many other countries hit hard by the pandemic.
Russian authorities began easing anti-virus measures in June ahead of a massive World War II military parade in Moscow and a nationwide vote on constitutional reforms that now allow President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036. Both events were initially postponed due the pandemic.
Several institutes in Russia are working on a coronavirus vaccine.
South Africa is leading Africa’s coronavirus race, coming fifth on the global table with 434,200 and 6,655 deaths. Two ministers in South Africa’s cabinet have been infected with the virus.
Other countries are reintroducing restrictions in response to fresh outbreaks.
In Spain, the number of people allowed on Barcelona’s beaches were limited after crowds flocked to the seaside over the weekend despite advice to stay home.
Africa now has over 800,000 infections and more than 17,000 deaths.