More than HIV More than dysentery. More than malaria, influenza, cholera and measles – combined.
In the 10 months since a mysterious pneumonia began to strike residents of Wuhan, China, Covid-19 has killed more than a million people around the world on Monday – an agonizing toll compiled from official accounts, but which by far underestimates the death toll. It may already have overtaken tuberculosis and hepatitis as the world’s deadliest infectious disease, and unlike all other contenders, it continues to grow rapidly.
Like nothing seen in more than a century, the coronavirus has infiltrated every populated region of the globe, sowing terror and poverty, infecting millions of people in some countries and crippling entire economies. But as attention focuses on the devastation caused by the shutdown of much of the world’s commercial, educational and social life, it is too easy to lose sight of the most direct human cost.
Over a million people – parents, children, siblings, friends, neighbors, colleagues, teachers, classmates – have all left, suddenly, prematurely. Those who survive Covid-19 are put down for weeks or even months before recovering, and many have lingering adverse effects the severity and duration of which remain uncertain.