The global death toll from Covid-19 topped 5 million on Monday, less than two years into a crisis that has not only devastated poor countries but also humbled wealthy ones with first-rate health care systems. Together, the US, the European Union, Britain and Brazil – all upper-middle- or high-income countries – account for one-eighth of the world’s population but nearly half of all reported deaths.
While the number of daily deaths worldwide fell below 8,000 for the first time in almost a year in early October, there remain blackspots globally.
“The total number of cases and deaths of COVID-19 is increasing for the first time in two months, due to the current increase in the epidemic in Europe,” World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference on Thursday.
In the 52 countries and territories that form the WHO’s European region, the mounting death count is mainly coming from the east.
The WHO estimates that the pandemic’s real death count could be two to three times higher than official records, due to the excess mortality that is directly and indirectly linked to COVID-19.