COVID death toll crosses 3 mn across the world, has WHO, govts worried

An average of more than 12,000 deaths were recorded globally every day in the past week

The XE variant is a combination of two prevalent Omicron variants – BA1 and BA2 | Representational Photo: iStock

The number of people who have died worldwide due to Covid-19 pandemic has surpassed three million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The milestone comes the day after the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned the world was “approaching the highest rate of infection” so far. India, experiencing a second wave, recorded more than 230,000 new cases on Saturday alone. Almost 140 million cases have been recorded since the pandemic began.

An average of more than 12,000 deaths were recorded globally every day in the past week, shooting the overall toll past three million on Saturday (April 17), according to news agency AFP tally.

World Health Organization chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on April 16 that “cases and deaths are continuing to increase at worrying rates.” He said that “globally, the number of new cases per week has nearly doubled over the past two months”.

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With 566,224 deaths, the US has the highest number of fatalities, followed by Brazil with 368,749 and Mexico with 211,693. Brazil has warned women to postpone pregnancy until the worst of the coronavirus pandemic has passed, saying the mutants of the virus in Brazil have been more aggressive in pregnant women.

“If possible, (the women should) postpone the pregnancy a bit to a better time so that (they) can have a more peaceful pregnancy,” Secretary of Primary Health Care of the Brazilian health ministry Raphael Camara said on April 16.

The US, India and Brazil – the countries with the most recorded infections – have accounted for more than a million deaths between them, according to Johns Hopkins University. However, official figures worldwide may not fully reflect the true number in many countries.

Hospitals are running low on beds and oxygen. Sick people are being turned away, and some families are turning to the black market to get the drugs they need.

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Amid the rising gloom, WHO reported the COVAX facility (global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance) has now delivered life-saving vaccines to over 100 economies since making its first international delivery to Ghana on February 24, this year.

Despite reduced supply availability in March and April, the result of vaccine manufacturers scaling and optimizing their production processes in the early phase of the rollout, as well as increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year, WHO noted. According to its latest supply forecast, COVAX expects to deliver at least 2 billion doses of vaccines in 2021.

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