More than four million people across the world have died of COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University published Thursday, July 8, 2021.
Out of the four million fatalities be, three countries- The US, India and Brazil account for more than a third of all global deaths.
The United States, which has the highest number at 606,000, is followed closely by Brazil and India.
The milestone comes as new cases and deaths are dropping in the US and Europe, where significant numbers of people have been vaccinated, but countries like Indonesia and Haiti are seeing an uptick in infection rates.
The Delta variant, a more transmissible and possibly more dangerous strain of coronavirus, is also contributing to an increase in cases in some countries.
In the US, the Delta variant now makes up more than half of all new infections, according to estimates from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
An average of 7,900 Covid-19 deaths were reported each day over the past week, according to JHU. That is 46% less than the global peak of more than 14,700 daily deaths in January, but 57% higher than the pace of about 5,000 daily deaths from this time last year.
The global death toll exceeded 1 million on September 18, 2020, 191 days after the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. It took 115 days for the global death toll to hit 2 million, 88 days to surpass 3 million, and another 89 days to reach 4 million.
Many experts believe the global death toll is likely significantly higher than the officially reported number due to inability to track the virus infection rate in underdeveloped and developing nations.
In a statement on Thursday, July 8, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the pandemic is “far from over.”
“Vaccines offer a ray of hope — but most of the world is still in the shadows. The virus is outpacing vaccine distribution,” he said, calling for a global plan to boost vaccine production, ensure equitable distribution and tackle vaccine hesitancy.
“To realize this plan, I am calling for an Emergency Task Force that brings together all the countries with vaccine production capacities, the World Health Organization, the global vaccine alliance GAVI and international financial institutions able to deal with the relevant pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers, and other key stakeholders,” he said.