The number of people around the world who have died from Covid-19 has passed 1 million, researchers say, and many regions are still reporting increasing numbers of new infections.
The Johns Hopkins University tally shows that deaths in the United States, Brazil and India account for almost half of that total.
Experts warn that the real figure is likely much higher.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called it “astonishing” and “an agonizing milestone”.
“Yet we must never lose sight of each individual life,” he said in a video message.
“They were fathers and mothers, wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues. The pain was multiplied by the savagery of this disease. ”
The development comes nearly 10 months after news of the coronavirus began to emerge from Wuhan, China.
The pandemic has since spread to 188 countries with more than 32 million confirmed cases. Locks and other measures to prevent the spread of the virus have plunged many economies into recession.
Meanwhile, efforts to develop an effective vaccine continue – although the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the death toll could reach two million before just one is widely available.
The United States has the highest death toll in the world with around 205,000 deaths, followed by Brazil with 141,700 and India with 95,500 deaths.
Where is Covid-19 spreading fastest?
The United States has recorded more than seven million cases – more than a fifth of the global total. After a second wave of cases in July, the numbers fell in August, but now appear to be on the rise again.
The coronavirus has spread rapidly in India, with the country recording around 90,000 cases a day earlier in September.
- Where are the global coronavirus hotspots?
Confirmed infections in India have reached six million – the second highest after the United States. However, given the size of its population, India has experienced a relatively low death rate.
Brazil has the highest number of deaths in Latin America and has recorded more than 4.7 million cases, the third highest in the world.
Elsewhere in the region, newly confirmed infections are also increasing rapidly in Argentina, which now has more than 700,000 cases.
Due to differences in the way countries record cases and deaths – and sporadic rates of testing in some regions – the actual number of coronavirus cases and deaths is believed to be higher than what has been reported, according to experts.
How is the vaccine hunt going?
Globally, there are around 240 potential vaccines in early development, with 40 in clinical trials and nine in final stages of testing in thousands of people. Vaccine development normally takes years, but due to the global emergency, scientists are working at breakneck speed.
One in development by the University of Oxford – already at an advanced stage of testing – has shown it can trigger an immune response and an agreement has been signed with AstraZeneca to deliver 100 million doses to the Kingdom alone -United.
- When will we have a vaccine?
- Who would get the vaccine and how?
In China, a potential vaccine has been shown to produce protective antibodies and is made available to the Chinese military. However, concerns have been raised about the speed at which the vaccine is produced.
Meanwhile, in Russia, scientists say the first tests on a vaccine called Sputnik-V show signs of an immune response.
In a report earlier this month, they said each participant in the trials had developed antibodies to fight the virus and had not experienced any serious side effects.
Russia cleared the vaccine for local use in August – the first country to do so. Then again, the speed of the process was of concern and some experts said the first trials were too small to prove their effectiveness and safety.
In the United States, President Donald Trump has said Americans should be able to access a vaccine as early as October, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a vaccine likely won’t be widely available until mid-2021.
The WHO has said it does not expect to see widespread vaccinations against Covid-19 until mid-2021.