Since the first discovery of the virus in December 2019, more than 200 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported worldwide.
The milestone was reached as global infections rise sharply, although official figures show that deaths are increasing at a slower rate.
An average of over 600,000 daily cases have been detected worldwide over the past seven days, a 68% increase from the low point in mid-June (360,000 new cases per day). The spread of the more contagious Delta variant, first identified in India, is now the main cause of the virus' spread.
Alongside the increase in cases, global deaths (currently 9,350 per day) have risen by 20% since early July, when the figures were down to 7,800 daily deaths.
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This gap between the increase in cases and deaths is visible in some of the countries currently most affected. In the United States, which has the highest number of new cases per day, cases have exploded by more than 820% since the end of June (currently 94,000 per day compared to 11,000 at the time); the number of new deaths has increased by about 105%, from 210 at the beginning of July to 430 currently.
In the UK, up to 47,000 cases were detected every day a few weeks ago at the height of the latest wave (30 times more than in May); deaths have increased more than ten times, from 6 per day to over 80. Yet this figure is low when compared with 1,250 daily deaths recorded in January in the UK.
Indonesia, by contrast, is currently reporting 35,000 cases per day, down 19% since last week. However, the death rate continues to grow: 1,700 per day over the past week, which is 8% more than the previous week. The current wave is the worst since the beginning of the pandemic for this country, which currently has the highest number of new deaths in the world.
The 200,065,905 cases of Covid-19 recorded worldwide are most likely underestimated, as a significant proportion of the less severe or asymptomatic cases remain undetected despite intensified screening in many countries.
The pandemic's official death rate is 4.25 million people worldwide, a figure that the WHO considers to be underestimated.
The Brussels Times