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The death toll from the world’s coronavirus eclipses 1 million

NEW DELHI (AP) – The death toll from global coronavirus overshadowed 1 million on Tuesday, nine months in a crisis that devastated the global economy, tested the determination of world leaders, turned science against politics and forced many to change their lifestyles. learn and work.

“It’s not just a number. These are human beings. We love people, ”said Dr. Howard Markel, a professor of medical history at the University of Michigan who advised government officials on pandemic containment and lost his 84-year-old mother to COVID-19 in February.

“These are our brothers, our sisters. These are people we know, “he added. “And if you don̵

7;t have this human factor in your face, it’s very easy to make it abstract.”

The dark stage recorded by Johns Hopkins University is larger than the population of Jerusalem or Austin, Texas. This is 2 1/2 times the sea of ​​humanity that was in Woodstock in 1969. This is more than four times the number killed in the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

Even then, the figure is almost certainly underestimated due to inadequate or inconsistent testing and reporting and suspicion of absconding by some countries.

And the number continues to grow. On average, nearly 5,000 deaths are reported each day. Parts of Europe have been hit by a second wave, and experts fear the same fate could await the United States, which is causing about 205,000 deaths, or 1 in 5 worldwide. This is much more than any other country, despite America’s wealth and medical resources.

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“I can understand why … numbers lose their power to shock, but I still think it’s really important to understand how big those numbers are,” said Mark Honigsbaum, author of Pandemic Age: One Hundred Years of Panic. Hysteria and Hubris. “

The global fee includes people like Joginder Chaudhary, who was his parents’ greatest pride, raised with the little he earned by growing a half-acre plot in central India to become the first doctor in their village.

After the virus killed 27-year-old Chaudhari in late July, his mother was crying inconsolably. After her son left, Pretty Chowdery said, how could she go on living? Three weeks later, on August 18, the virus killed her. All in all, it killed more than 95,000 in India.

“This pandemic ruined my family,” said the young doctor’s father, Rajendra Chaudhari. “All our aspirations, our dreams, it’s all over.”

When the virus spread to cemeteries in the Italian province of Bergamo last spring, the Rev. Mario Carminati opened his church to the dead, placing 80 coffins in the central aisle. After an army convoy took them to the crematorium, another 80 people arrived. Then another 80.

Eventually, the crisis receded and the world’s attention continued. But the grip of the pandemic continues. In August, Carminati buried his 34-year-old nephew.

“It simply came to our notice then. The problem is that we think we are all immortal, “said the priest.

The virus first appeared in late 2019 in patients hospitalized in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first death was reported on January 11. By the time the authorities locked the city nearly two weeks later, millions of passengers had come and gone. The Chinese government has criticized it for not doing enough to warn other countries of the threat.

Government leaders in countries such as Germany, South Korea and New Zealand are working effectively to curb it. Others, such as US President Donald Trump and Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro, have dismissed the burden of the threat and the guidance of scientists, even as hospitals full of seriously ill patients.

Brazil has the second highest mortality rate after the United States, at about 142,000. India is third and Mexico is fourth, at more than 76,000.

The virus has compromised between safety and economic well-being. The choice has made millions of people vulnerable, especially the poor, minorities and the elderly.

Because so many deaths are not seen in hospital wards and are clustered on the periphery of society, a cornerstone is reminiscent of the grim statement often attributed to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin: One death is a tragedy, millions of deaths are statistics.

The pandemic of 1 million dead in such a limited time rivals some of the most serious threats to public health, past and present.

It exceeds the annual deaths from AIDS, which last year killed about 690,000 people worldwide. The number of viruses is close to 1.5 million deaths worldwide each year from tuberculosis, which regularly kills more people than any other infectious disease.

But “COVID’s grip on humanity is incomparably greater than the grip of other causes of death,” said Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University. He noted unemployment, poverty and despair caused by the pandemic, and deaths from countless other diseases that remained untreated.

For all its lethality, the virus has taken far fewer lives than the so-called Spanish flu, which killed about 40 million to 50 million worldwide in two years, just over a century ago.

This pandemic occurred before scientists had powerful enough microscopes to identify the enemy or antibiotics that could treat the bacterial pneumonia that killed most victims. In addition, there was a very different course. In the United States, for example, the Spanish flu has killed about 675,000 people. But most of these deaths came until a second wave struck in the winter of 1918-19.

So far, the disease has left only a faint mark on Africa, very shy of early modeling, which predicts thousands more deaths.

But recently, cases have increased in countries such as Britain, Spain, Russia and Israel. In the United States, the return of college students has sparked new outbreaks. With the approval and distribution of the vaccine, which are still probably months away and winter is approaching in the Northern Hemisphere, tolls will continue to rise.

“We are just at the beginning of this. We will see many more weeks before this pandemic than we had behind us, “Gostin said.


Geller reports from New York. Nicole Winfield in Rome contributed to this story.


Follow the AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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