The world has crossed the grim milestone of 1.5 million coronavirus deaths amid the wait for the distribution of vaccines.
The global coronavirus deaths were 1,524, 457 as of Saturday morning, according to worldometer.info.
That figure includes over 285,000 deaths recorded in the United States, which has lost more people to COVID-19 than any other country.
The US has recorded more than twice the number of deaths recorded by India, the next most impacted country which has reported about 139, 000 deaths.
Total global infections also crossed 66 million, with 66,230,912 cases reported as of Saturday morning, according to the worldometer.info data.
Worst still, health experts say there are likely far more cases out there that have not been confirmed.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had warned that the death toll could hit two million before an effective vaccine is widely used.
Meanwhile, over 45 million of the infected people have recovered after treatment.
Troubling uptick of deaths
The world recorded 1.5 million deaths within six months of the disease, rising sharply from the 3,000 total in early March.
The death tally reached 20,000 in late March and passed half a million on June 28. About 20 days later, 100,000 more deaths were recorded and on September 27, the toll reached the million threshold.
The U.S. reported approximately 5,000 deaths each week, according to Reuters.
The U.S. posted an all-time high of more than 210,000 new cases Thursday evening, and more than 2,900 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Italy registered 993 deaths also on Thursday, topping its previous record of 969 earlier in the year when it was the first European country to be heavily affected by the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the true number of infections and fatalities could be far higher, giving the varied ways in which countries conduct tests and report COVID-19, the CNN reported.
The Americas still account for more than half of all fatalities worldwide owing to high death counts in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia.
More than 52,000 people have died from the disease in Africa since Egypt became the first country in the continent to confirm a coronavirus case about 10 months ago, data from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) revealed.
The victims include the former president of the Republic of the Congo, Jacques Joachim Yhombi-Opango; Somalia’s former prime minister Nur Hassan Hussein and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief of staff, Abba Kyari.
More than 2.2 million infections have been found in the continent of over a billion people thus far.
WHO officials said the statistics are likely to significantly underestimate the true number of cases in Africa, raising concerns that African countries were not conducting enough tests.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, has reported over 68,000 infections and over a thousand deaths but has tested less than a million people.
There is hope in the treatment of the virus though as at least three vaccines have been proven to be over 90 per cent effective against it.
It was reported how the UK, on Wednesday, became the first country to approve the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine which has been proven to be 95 per cent effective.
In Nigeria, the Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, had said efforts are being made to ensure that Nigerians have access to the COVID-19 vaccines when available.
“We have to start preparing Nigerian population for vaccine delivery when it becomes available,” he said.
“Access is a very key issue when it comes to vaccines; that a vaccine is developed does not necessarily translate to being available to those that need it the most.”
The Nigerian government has also inaugurated an 18-member national COVID-19 task team to ensure “vaccine security” when it finally gets to the country.