THE total number of lives claimed by the coronavirus pandemic has crossed 1 million as it continues to sweep across the globe.
The disease has claimed 1,003,791 victims out of 33,454,037 recorded global infections, according to data from Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center as of Tuesday, Sept. 29.
The United States has recorded the highest number of fatalities at 205,547. This toll is followed by Brazil with 142,058; India with 96,318; Mexico with 76,603; and the United Kingdom with 42,161.
On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced a plan to distribute 150 million rapid COVID-19 tests. Of that number, 100 million tests will go to “states and territories to support efforts to reopen their economies and schools immediately and [as] fast as they can,” he said.
Meanwhile, the remaining 50 million tests will be allocated to “protect the most vulnerable communities,” which include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospice care agencies, historically black colleges and universities, and tribal nation colleges.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, made its first known appearance in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, ground zero of the outbreak.
Wuhan was shut down in January, but by March, the virus had emerged in over 100 countries, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a pandemic.
WHO’s emergencies director Michael Ryan warned that COVID-19 fatalities could double to two million without collective action against the virus.
“One million is a terrible number and we need to reflect on that before we start considering a second million,” Ryan told reporters on Friday, Sept. 25.
“Are we prepared collectively to do what it takes to avoid that number?” he added. “If we don’t take those actions… yes, we will be looking at that number and sadly much higher.”
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, in his speech before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), said that how the world will address COVID-19 will define our future.
“I am honored to address you today on behalf of the Filipino people on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. The invisible enemy that is COVID-19 has brought about an unfamiliar global landscape and unleashed a crisis without precedent. It is the biggest test the world and the United Nations faced since World War II,” he said Wednesday, Sept. 23.
Duterte encouraged each nation to put up a united front against the pandemic, saying that the world needs coordinated international plans and efforts to pursue a common purpose.
“COVID-19 knows no border. It knows no nationality. It knows no race. It knows no gender. It knows no age. It knows no creed,” he stressed.
The chief executive also said that when the world finds the vaccine, access to it must be available to all rich and poor nations alike.