Global Count Of Coronavirus Infections Tops 30 Million

More than 30 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began in December 2019.

Johns Hopkins University released the figures on Thursday, which showed the U.S. was still leading the globe with more than 6.6 million cases of the novel coronavirus.

Surging rates of infections in India, including more than 97,000 in a 24-hour period this week, have added to ongoing concern that the pandemic is far from being under control. The World Health Organization has also warned of an “alarming” rise of transmissions in Europe.

More than 944,000 people have died from COVID-19, including nearly 200,000 people in the U.S. alone.

The figures are almost certainly lower than the actual number of cases due to difficulties in testing early in the pandemic and the fact that many of those infected don’t show symptoms.

“Our world is nearing the grimmest of milestones, 1 million lives lost to the virus,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said this week. “Meanwhile the outbreak remains out of control. The virus is the number 1 global security threat in our world today.

“Many pin their hopes on a vaccine, but let’s be clear: There is no panacea in a pandemic,” he continued, urging global unity in the fight for a successful drug. “We need to massively expand new and existing tools that can respond to new cases and provide vital treatment that can suppress transmission and save lives.”

More than 250,000 people test positive for COVID-19 each day, The New York Times reported. It took less than seven months for the planet to hit 10 million cases by June 18, around six weeks to hit 20 million on August 10 and just over a month to hit the 30 million milestone.

The hunt for a successful vaccine is ongoing, but even if one is discovered, inoculating the world will take time. The charitable group Oxfam said Thursday that more than half of the expected supply of the vaccine candidates far along in development had already been purchased or reserved by wealthy countries.

“Governments will prolong this crisis in all of its human tragedy and economic damage if they allow pharmaceutical companies to protect their monopolies and profits,” the interim director of Oxfam said in a statement. “No single corporation will ever be able to meet the world’s need for a COVID-19 vaccine.”

Getting Americans to even take the vaccine will likely be more difficult as time goes on. A new poll released this week by the Pew Research Group found just 51 percent of Americans said they would obtain one when it became available, a 21 percentage point drop from a similar survey in May.

Despite ongoing concerns over his attempts to politicize the virus, President Donald Trump has continued to push for the release of a vaccine before the end of the year, dangling a potential treatment by Election Day.

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