The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has now surpassed 40 million worldwide. According to Johns Hopkins University, which has been collecting data on the pandemic since it first started in March, global cases surpassed the 40 million mark this past Monday.
The reality is, however, that the actual worldwide total is likely much larger, as testing site access is a major variable and many individuals who contract the virus are asymptomatic and don’t even know that they have it. The same argument can be applied to the number of deaths associated with Covid-19; which currently stands at 1.1 million worldwide.
The United States, India, and Brazil have reported the highest number of cases globally. The US has encountered 8.1 million cases, India 7.5 million, and Brazil 5.2 million. Europe has also seen major new surges in cases within the past month, and has experienced more than 240,000 Covid-19 deaths.
The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed last week that Europe had reported a record breaking weekly high of 700,000 Covid-19 cases. The WHO also claimed that these cases in Europe are responsible for a third of the cases globally. Specifically, Britain, France, Russia, and Spain account for about 50% of the new cases appearing in the region of Europe. Many smaller countries are also seeing intense outbreaks when compared to the beginning of the pandemic.
“The new measures being taken across Europe are absolutely essential in stopping COVID-19 from overwhelming its hospitals. Those include new requirements on mask-wearing in Italy and Switzerland, and closing schools in Northern Ireland and the Czech Republic.”
The WHO also explained that Europe would be “closing restaurants and bars in Belgium, implementing a 9 p.m. curfew in France and having targeted limited lockdowns in parts of the U.K.” The agency also claimed that several cities in Europe need to prepare for an “overwhelming” amount of hospital patients who will require intensive care services. While it’s imperative that everyone work together to slow the spread of the virus, the possibility of a second-wave has already become a reality for some parts of the world, so the time to prepare is now.
WHO estimates that 1 in 10 people worldwide have contracted the virus at this point; that’s around 780 million people. If those stats are accurate the actual number of Covid-19 cases is 20 times higher than the official number of cases being reported.
Some researchers and experts have argues that if we allow Covid-19 to spread in populations that are not totally vulnerable it could help build a general herd immunity in the world, however, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus isn’t as convinced that herd immunity may help curb the spread of the virus, however, the world needs a vaccine, not deliberate exposure to this virus.
“Allowing a dangerous virus that we don’t fully understand to run free is simply unethical.”
The United Nation’s health agency agreed with Ghebreyesus, and hopes within the coming weeks to collect enough data on Covid-19 to determine if any possible vaccines that are currently being tested are effective enough to be distributed by 2021.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.