The number of people killed by COVID-19 has surpassed 1 million, according to the widely cited Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The center put the total number of infections worldwide at more than 33 million.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, late last year.
In India, the country’s confirmed coronavirus tally reached 6 million Monday, behind only the United States, where infections passed 7 million last week.
As the pandemic reached the grim milestone, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said the actual toll is probably higher.
“If anything, the numbers currently reported probably represent an underestimate of those individuals who have either contracted COVID-19 or died as a cause of it,” Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert, said at a briefing in Geneva.
President Donald Trump on Monday promised to make 150 million rapid COVID-19 tests available. He said the “massive and groundbreaking expansion” of testing would help protect the elderly in nursing homes, allow schools to reopen more safely, and help get the economy back on track.
Trump had previously said he wanted to slow testing down because discovering more cases could make it appear the disease is spreading faster.
WHO announced that 120 million rapid diagnostic tests for the coronavirus will be made available to low- and middle-income countries.
End is not near
In the United States, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told NBC, “We’re nowhere near the end” of the coronavirus pandemic.
Redfield also repeated his argument that wearing a mask can be just as effective as a vaccine.
“If every one of us did it, this pandemic would be over in eight to 12 weeks,” Redfield said.
Dr. Chris Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, told CNN an expected “huge surge” in coronavirus infections in October in the United States is also expected to continue in November and December.
Heading off 2nd wave
Meanwhile, Europe is experiencing a new wave of coronavirus infections, leading some governments across the continent to reimpose restrictions on residents and businesses.
Britain and the Netherlands both announced new measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.
In Spain, Madrid authorities and the national government are clashing over the extent of the steps needed to control the outbreak of new infections in the capital region.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the government in France has no plan to order a new nationwide lockdown, despite a rising number of coronavirus cases
But Patrick Bouet, head of France’s National Council of the Order of Doctors, told Journal du Dimanche Sunday “if nothing changes, France will face a widespread outbreak across its whole territory for several long autumn and winter months,” and the health system would crumble under the demands.