Worldwide death toll from Coronavirus eclipses 1 million
Baltimore (US): The worldwide death toll from the Coronavirus eclipsed 1 million on Tuesday, nine months into a crisis that has devastated the global economy, tested world leaders' resolve, pitted science against politics and forced multitudes to change the way they live, learn and work.
It's not just a number. It's human beings. It's people we love, said Dr. Howard Markel, a professor of medical history at the University of Michigan who has advised government officials on containing pandemics and lost his 84-year-old mother to COVID-19 in February.
It's our brothers, our sisters. It's people we know, he added.
And if you don't have that human factor right in your face, it's very easy to make it abstract.
The bleak milestone, recorded by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of Jerusalem or Austin, Texas. It is 2 1/2 times the sea of humanity that was at Woodstock in 1969. It is more than four times the number killed in the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
Even then, the figure is almost certainly a vast undercount because of inadequate or inconsistent testing and reporting and suspected concealment by some countries.
And the number continues to mount. Nearly 5,000 deaths are reported each day on average. Parts of Europe are getting hit by a second wave, and experts fear the same fate may await the US, which accounts for about 205,000 deaths, or 1 out of 5 worldwide. That is far more than any other country, despite America's wealth and medical resources.
I can understand why ... numbers are losing their power to shock, but I still think it's really important that we understand how big these numbers really are, said Mark Honigsbaum, author of The Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria and Hubris.
The virus has killed more than 95,000 in India.
When the virus overwhelmed cemeteries in the Italian province of Bergamo last spring, the Rev. Mario Carminati opened his church to the dead, lining up 80 coffins in the center aisle. After an army convoy carted them to a crematory, another 80 arrived.
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