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Global Coronavirus Deaths Surpass One Million


A health worker took swab samples for coronavirus testing in New Delhi, India, on Monday.

Photo: EPA/Shutterstock

The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic reached one million world-wide on Monday, as several nations continue to struggle to contain a virus that has overloaded health-care systems, upended economies and remade daily life around the globe.

Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, is killing on average more than 700 people a day in the U.S., which leads the world in both confirmed cases and deaths. With more than seven million confirmed infections since the beginning of the pandemic, the U.S. accounts for nearly a fifth of the more than 33.1 million cases reported globally. More than 205,000 Americans have died.

“I hate to say it, but unfortunately what I’m expecting is more people dying from this virus,” said Carlos Del Rio, a professor of medicine at Emory University who focuses on infectious disease and global health. “I sometimes feel like we’ve just given up and are going to let the epidemic continue.”

Daily reported Covid-19 deaths in the U.S.
Notes: For all 50 states and D.C., U.S. territories and cruises. Last updated
Source: Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering
Daily reported Covid-19 cases in the U.S.
Note: For all 50 states and D.C., U.S. territories and cruises. Last updated
Source: Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering

The outbreak has been even more deadly as a percentage of cases in some other countries, data from Johns Hopkins University show. More than 10% of observed cases in Mexico have ended in death. In Bolivia, France and Iran, that figure is more than 5%, while the mortality ratio in the U.S. is 2.9%. Reporting and testing capabilities vary around the world, so the true extent of the virus may be higher.

The disease has dealt a crushing blow to several developing nations, throwing tens of millions out of work and erasing gains made against poverty. In Brazil, which is second only to the U.S. in total fatalities from the disease, more than 140,000 people have died. In India, where total infections have topped more than six million, the virus continues to kill on average nearly 1,000 people a day.

Since emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the virus has spread world-wide. Government lockdowns aimed at stalling the spread unleashed devastating economic recessions that are ongoing.

Dr. Del Rio laid much of the blame for the current situation on political leaders in the U.S. and abroad, including President Trump. He pointed to some countries that have been successful in stopping the spread of the virus, despite having fewer resources. South Korea and New Zealand, for example, reported an average of just 2.5 new cases a day over the past two weeks.

Monitoring the U.S. Outbreak
Confirmed cases by state, ranked by latest full-day count
Daily confirmed cases per 100,000 residents
Note: Trend indicates whether a state had an increase or decrease in total number of cases in the past seven days compared with previous seven days. Last updated
Sources: Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering; the Lancet; Associated Press; U.S. Census
Search for a county
Average new daily Covid-19 cases for most recent week, per 100,000 people
Note: Last updated on . Negative values are due to revised figures.
Sources: Johns Hopkins University (cases); Census Bureau (population)

Mr. Trump has consistently given his administration high marks for its response to the coronavirus.

He declared the U.S. was “rounding the corner” Monday, while announcing new details of a plan to distribute 150 million rapid coronavirus tests to states.

“We are relentlessly focused on protecting the vulnerable, while enabling healthy Americans to go back to work,” he said, repeating his promises to provide a vaccine in record time.

Public health officials warn of new case counts rising, as many countries, including the U.K. and the U.S., have failed to bring the virus in check in advance of the winter flu season and an expected resurgence of the coronavirus itself.

Officials in the U.K. last week announced new lockdown measures to combat a surge of infections. In New York City, the epicenter of infection in the early weeks of the U.S. pandemic before a prolonged lockdown brought the virus under control, the rate of new cases over the last two weeks was rising as of Sunday, data show.

The virus’s effects can even be seen in a rise in deaths from other causes, medical experts said. Stress, economic strain and fear of entering hospitals during the pandemic are likely factors in an increase in U.S. fatalities from heart attacks, strokes and diabetes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Failure to roll out more rapid testing and to mandate mask-wearing even as states begin reopening schools and businesses are likely to further fuel the epidemic, said Dr. Del Rio.

The recent move by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to lift all restaurant seating restrictions and ban penalties for failing to wear masks is “not a strategy,” Dr. Del Rio said. “That’s a disaster. We keep on making the same mistakes.”

Mr. DeSantis said Friday that Florida was ready to move forward since new daily case counts and hospitalizations in the state have fallen substantially from their summer peaks, even as economic activity has increased and schools and theme parks have reopened across the state.

Understanding the Coronavirus

Health experts say a patchwork of confusing and sometimes conflicting rules across the U.S. has made it harder to curb the virus, and contributed to a surge of cases during the summer. A consistent national approach is the most effective way to combat a pandemic, epidemiologists say.

With a vaccine still months away, widespread mask usage, expanded testing and effective contact tracing are seen as integral to helping stop the spread and avoiding more shutdowns.

“It’s not going to go away just because we want it to be over,” Dr. Del Rio said, alluding to Mr. Trump’s public comments that the coronavirus would disappear on its own and that the U.S. has had an effective response to the pandemic. “I guess if you repeat something enough, eventually it can seem like the reality. But it’s not the reality.”


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Corrections & Amplifications
A photograph of a New York City restaurant that appeared in an earlier version of this article was taken Friday. The caption incorrectly said it was taken Saturday. (Corrected on Sept. 28)

Write to Ted Mann at

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the September 29, 2020, print edition as ‘Global Death Toll Close to One Million.’

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