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COVID: Global coronavirus death toll passes 3 million

Sixteen months after the coronavirus was first detected in China, more than 100 million people have been infected. The death toll has now hit a new grim milestone.

A general view at Caju cemetery on March 24, 2021 in Rio de Janeiro shows dozens of small crosses with numbers

The real death toll is likely much higher due to difficulties identifying COVID deaths

The number of global deaths that can be traced back to COVID-19 has risen above 3 million, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University published on Saturday.

The virus that surfaced in late 2019 in central China and the ensuing pandemic has infected more than 100 million people, leaving billions more under crippling lockdowns and ravaging the global economy.

How has the virus spread more recently?

Over 1 million people have died in the three months since mid-January when the death toll reached the last grim milestone.

It took eight months to reach 1 million dead and less than four months after that to reach the second million.

The pandemic continues to ravage populations around the world as more virulent variants appear and spread quickly, with some increasing the virulence of the virus.

Watch video 02:23

Are COVID deaths in India underreported?

COVID-19 deaths have continued to rise despite monthslong vaccination campaigns.

Richer countries have been slammed for hoarding vaccine doses, while countries with large populations such as India and Brazil are struggling to bring down even deadlier surges in infection rates.

While the count is based on figures supplied by government agencies around the world, the real toll is believed to be significantly higher because of poor testing and many inaccurately recorded deaths, especially during the first months of the outbreak.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic been felt around the world?

Global cases and deaths continue to rise, but not uniformly across the world.

Some countries such as the United Kingdom and Portugal that had previously been hit by rampant surges have since managed to bring their case numbers down and even emerge from strict lockdowns.

Other countries have seen their earlier efforts decimated by newer, more contagious variants, such as the B.1.1.7 variant first discovered in the UK.

India — with a population of over 1.3 billion — reported a record-breaking 200,000 new daily infections on Thursday after having successfully brought an earlier wave under control.

Germany, which had been praised during the first few months of the pandemic for its handling of the crisis, reported almost 30,000 new cases — among a population of just over 80 million — in one day on Thursday.

Watch video 01:52

Brazil's COVID death toll soars amid new variants

Brazil has also been particularly badly hit by the pandemic.

The country has registered a total of 361,884 COVID-19 deaths with daily deaths reaching up to 4,000.

The situation is likely down to a combination of the P.1 variant — which appears to have a bigger effect on younger people — running rampant and the refusal by President Jair Bolsonaro's administration to enforce a strict lockdown.

ab/mm (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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