A little over six months since the spread of Covid-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, nearly 30 million people globally have now contracted the virus, marking another milestone as many brace for a possible resurgence during the fall and winter seasons.
The U.S. leads the world in cases with 6.6 million, with populous India the second worst with 5.1 million and Brazil the third worst with 4.4 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
In total, there have been 942,631 reported deaths, with the U.S. again leading with over 197,000 fatalities, followed by Brazil with around 134,000 and India with 83,200.
After successfully mitigating the spread of the virus early on during the pandemic, European countries are now experiencing what WHO Regional Director Hans Kluge characterizes as a “very serious situation,” with weekly cases exceeding prior peaks.
Facing the prospect of a difficult flu season coinciding with Covid-19, the U.S. is struggling with the return of students to schools and universities, with several districts and colleges already being forced back to fully digital learning following outbreaks.
There are currently 40 vaccines being tested in human clinical trials, with nine in large-scale Phase 3 studies, according to the New York Times, but health experts warn that even if a vaccine is found to be safe and effective by December at the earliest, it will take an extended amount of time to both manufacture and distribute enough vaccines to build immunity in populations.
The chief science officer at WHO, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, as well as billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates, said this week that people shouldn’t expect to return to their pre-coronavirus lifestyles until at least 2022, given that reality.
“We’re still at the beginning of it,” said Dr. David Nabarro, a WHO special envoy on Covid-19, according to the Guardian. “None of us find the present situation anything other than horrible, grotesque, really embarrassing.”
22%. Despite having around 4% of the total world population, the U.S. has about 22% of total cases in the world and a staggering 21% of all deaths, a figure that experts consider an underestimate.
In the U.S., where protests against systemic racism have taken place since the killing of George Floyd on May 25, the coronavirus has illuminated historic racial and ethnic inequalities. Hispanic, Black and American Indian people contract Covid-19 at disproportionate rates, and the majority of people under 21 years old who die from the virus are nonwhite. Long-standing social disparities are noted reasons for the stark numbers, such as food and housing insecurity, educational gaps and difficulty in seeking affordable healthcare services.
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