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A grim, bleak reality as COVID kills 1M worldwide amid second wave

Tue 29 Sep 2020    
| 3 min read

The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus has boiled over 1 million, nearly a year into the devastating pandemic that crisis that has crashed the global economy, crumpled countries and resolves, and forced an entire era of beings to mold their lifestyles around the crisis.

The grim figures, recorded in U.S. on Monday by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of Jerusalem or Austin, Texas. It is more than four times the number killed by the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

“It’s not just a number. It’s human beings. It’s people we love,” said Dr. Howard Markel, a professor of medical history at the University of Michigan who has advised government officials on containing pandemics and lost his 84-year-old mother to COVID-19 in February.

“It’s our brothers, our sisters. It’s people we know,” he added. “And if you don’t have that human factor right in your face, it’s very easy to make it abstract.”

Even then, the figure is almost certainly a vast undercount because of inadequate or inconsistent testing and reporting and suspected concealment by some countries.

And with no definite cure in sight, the figures continue their climb each day. 

A nearly 5,000 average of deaths are reported on the daily. Europe is currently smack in between its second wave, the officials grasping at straws to keep the economy afloat.

Experts are now fearing a second wave in the U.S., which accounts for about 205,000 deaths, or 1 out of 5 worldwide, a number far greater than any other land’s, despite America’s wealth and medical resources.

The first stirrings of the virus can be traced back to late 2019 within the hospitalised in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the reported first death occurred on Jan 11. 

But when the authorities finally locked the city, some two weeks later, a million or so travellers had already come and gone, taking the virus with them to countries across the globe. China has taken the hit for not doing enough to warn the global citizens of its emerging crisis. 

Government leaders in countries like Germany, South Korea and New Zealand worked effectively to contain it. Others, like U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, dismissed the severity of the threat and the guidance of scientists, even as the hospitals beds filled out with the grievously ill.

Brazil has recorded the second most deaths after the U.S., with about 142,000. India is third and Mexico fourth, with more than 76,000.

The choices between health and livelihood has left millions of people vulnerable, especially the poor, minorities and the elderly. The pandemic’s toll of 1 million dead in such a limited time rivals some of the gravest threats to public health, past and present.

The toll is quickly ticking towards the fatalities reported from tuberculosis, which regularly kills more people each year than any other infectious disease.

For all its lethality, the virus has claimed far fewer lives than the so-called Spanish flu, which killed an estimated 40 million to 50 million worldwide in two years, just over a century ago.

In the U.S., the Spanish flu killed about 675,000. But most of those deaths did not come until a second wave hit in the winter of 1918.

Cases have recently surged in countries like Britain, Spain, Russia and Israel. In the United States, the return of students to college campuses has sparked new outbreaks. 

With testing of global vaccines still underway, the lease for approval and distribution is still months down the line, and as the 2020 winter rolls in, the infections would only see an increase in their grip on the victims. Adherence, vigilance, hygiene and safety are key. 

[Sourced from Agencies]