The confirmed death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic surpassed 5 million on late Saturday, according to figures collected by BNO News. It comes as many countries in Europe are dealing with a resurgence of the coronavirus.
It took roughly 9 months for the first one million people to die, 4 months for the second, 3 months for the third, 82 days for the fourth, and 115 days for the fifth. But the true figure is thought to be much higher as the number of excess deaths surpasses the coronavirus death toll in many countries.
The grim milestone comes amid growing outbreaks in parts of Europe, where some countries have announced new restrictions. Countries which were once praised for keeping daily cases at or near zero – such as New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore – are also experiencing outbreaks.
Vaccines have prevented countless hospitalizations and deaths since they became available in late 2020, but many countries have yet to achieve sufficient vaccine coverage, leaving billions of people vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19.
The novel coronavirus, officially known as SARS-CoV-2, first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. The virus has spread to nearly every country on Earth, infecting at least 246 million people. Millions more were infected without getting tested.
Nearly 750,000 coronavirus deaths have been reported in the U.S. alone, making it one of the worst-affected countries in the world. It is followed by Brazil (607,694), India (457,740), Mexico (287,951), and Russia (237,380).
How the death toll evolved