The world’s COVID death toll has now passed a grim five million

After more than a year of social distancing, mask-wearing and lockdowns, the world’s COVID death toll has now surpassed a sombre five million.

The world’s COVID death toll has now passed a grim five million
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Over a year and a half has passed since the start of the pandemic, with COVID now accounting for more than five million deaths across the globe as of Friday the 1st of October.

The Delta variant, which this year became the world’s most dominant strain, has also had a significant impact on COVID-related deaths.

Since last March, it took one year for the world to reach 2.5 million COVID deaths. However, thanks to the Delta variant, the next 2.5 million was achieved in just eight months.

Global COVID deaths highlight disparities between nations

Last year’srace against COVID-19 focused on lockdowns and social distancing. Meanwhile, this year has had its sight set on mass vaccination in the race against the virus. However, not all countries have been fortunate to have the same access to immunisation, leaving many populations particularly vulnerable - especially against the Delta variant.

With the dangers of the Delta variant threatening poorer nations, efforts have been ramping up to ensure these countries can protect their residents from the virus. However, many of those in poorer nations still have yet to receive their first dose, while countries like the UK and Germany are already rolling out booster shots to those more vulnerable.

According to Our World in Data, half the world has yet to receive even their first COVID-19 vaccine.

To mitigate vaccine disparities across the globe, COVAX, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) COVID vaccine dispersal programme, has announced for the first time that it will be focusing on distributing jabs to countries with the least coverage as opposed to handing out doses proportionately across its 140 country programme.

Which countries have the highest COVID death rate?

Over half of coronavirus deaths reported on a seven-day average were in the US, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and India, with an average of 8,000 COVID-19 related deaths occurring throughout the world last week alone.

According to Reuters’ analysis, only 33% of Russia’s eligible populations has received their first coronavirus jab. The country reported 887 COVID deaths on Friday the 1st of October, the highest single-day COVID death toll the country has seen, and the fourth day in a row it has set this record.

Additionally, South America, as a region, has the highest COVID death toll in the world, accounting for 21%. This was followed by North America and Eastern Europe, each accounting for over 14% of global COVID deaths.

The US also passed 700,000 COVID deaths last week. The nation has been facing battles against misinformation, with vaccine hesitancy now stopping almost one-third of its eligible population from becoming vaccinated.

On the other hand, India, which suffered hugely from the initial brunt of the Delta outbreak, has benefitted from a strong vaccine rollout, with almost half of the eligible population receiving their first dose so far, taking the country from 4,000 deaths per day to fewer than 300.