Global Covid Case Total Passes 200 Million
Two hundred million is a huge number.
But as the world has recorded the 200 millionth detected case of coronavirus infection, that disheartening figure – more than the populations of Germany, France and Spain combined – also fails to capture just how bad the virus is. has taken root in humanity.
While this is still an imperfect measure of a virus that causes no symptoms in many of the people it infects, with many unreported infections, the tally of cases has provided a useful tool for many. part of the pandemic – like a flashing red light in the cockpit of an airliner. warning of imminent danger.
An increase in the number of cases has too often been followed by a crush of people rushing into emergency rooms. And then, several weeks later, the number of deaths generally increased. It took more than a year for the pandemic to reach its 100 millionth case, and just over six months to double, with the world surpassing the 200 million figure on Wednesday, according to the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering. Johns Hopkins. .
The number of people killed by the virus is also staggering.
The official tally stands at more than 614,000 deaths in the United States, 558,000 in Brazil and 425,000 in India. Mexico has recorded over 240,000 deaths and Peru nearly 200,000. Britain, Colombia, France, Italy and Russia have each recorded well over 100,000 deaths. As of Wednesday, the global toll was around 4.25 million – a serious underestimate, experts said, given the discrepancies in how countries record Covid deaths.
As the coronavirus continues to find new hosts across the planet at a rapid rate, the emergence of the Delta variant – believed to be about twice as infectious as the original version first detected in Wuhan, China – is fueling a fire that has never stopped raging.
In just one week, from July 19 to 25, nearly four million cases have been recorded by the World Health Organization – a jump of 8% from the previous week.
With many of the new infections occurring in countries lacking vaccines or among the unvaccinated, 69,000 deaths from Covid were recorded that week.
Despite closures, travel restrictions, mask warrants, business closures, social distancing and sweeping changes in individual behavior, the virus continues to find a way to spread.
Some countries, like Australia, have managed to keep the number of cases low thanks to geographic isolation and strict lockdown measures. But that might not be possible given the rise in power of the Delta variant. And governments are facing increasingly angry protests as they try to impose shutdowns on tired populations and struggling businesses.
Over the past six months, however, the math to measure current danger has become more complicated. An increase in the number of cases alone, in many places, may not portend an influx of very ill people.
For countries where vaccines are scarce, the pandemic calculation remains unchanged. Indonesian authorities reported nearly 57,000 new cases in one day in mid-July, seven times more than a month earlier, the highest figure since the start of the pandemic. Twelve days later, more than 2,000 dead in a single day, and the country is now close to 100,000 deaths from Covid-19.
But in countries lucky and wealthy enough to have enough vaccines, public health officials anxiously watch how mass vaccination campaigns have severed the link between the number of cases and the strain on health systems. .
In Britain, where nearly all legal restrictions on social interactions were lifted on July 19, there are encouraging signs that with nearly 75% of people over 18 fully vaccinated, the virus is running out. of fuel at the moment. After a sharp increase in June and early July, the number of new infections has been falling for two weeks.
In the United States, with more than 90 million people eligible for vaccines who haven’t had one, experts warn an increase in cases this winter is inevitable.
“I don’t think we’re going to see any blockages,” Dr Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said Sunday. “I think we have enough of the percentage of people in the country – not enough to crush the epidemic – but I believe enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter. But things will get worse. “
The spread of the virus among vaccinees is being monitored intensively around the world, and much remains unknown. Are there differences in breakthrough infections depending on the vaccine given? How long does it take for the protection to wear off? And, perhaps most importantly, how will an increase in breakthrough infections affect hospitalization rates?
Public health officials are convinced that there is little evidence to suggest that the virus has found a way to evade the primary purpose of vaccines: to prevent serious illness and death.
But the virus is now an integral part of our world of 7.8 billion people.
“We have to understand that this virus is now endemic,” said Robert West, professor emeritus of health psychology at University College London who is a member of the subcommittee of SAGE, a scientific body advising the UK government on Politics. “And that we need to think about our long-term strategies to deal with it as a global phenomenon.”
“It is now inevitable that we will see thousands, if not tens of thousands of deaths per year from this virus for the foreseeable future,” Mr West said, “in the same way that we see deaths from d ‘other causes.
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