BusinessDay

COVID-19 now world’s 3rd leading cause of death, after heart disease, stroke

Globally, COVID-19 is confirmed to be the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and stroke.

According to the Associated Press, the coronavirus pandemic has killed above five million people globally in less than two years.

The pandemic has not only devastated developing countries but also humbled developed countries with first-rate health care systems.

Albert Ko, an infectious disease specialist at the Yale School of Public Health disclosed that countries such as the United States, the European Union, Britain, and Brazil, all high-income countries account for one-eighth of the world’s population but nearly half of all reported deaths.

The U.S. alone has recorded over 740,000 lives lost, more than any other nation.

“This is a defining moment in our lifetime, what do we have to do to protect ourselves so we do not get to another five million?” Ko said.

Experts from Peace Research Institute Oslo said the death toll, as tallied by Johns Hopkins University, is almost equal to the populations of Los Angeles and San Francisco combined. This, they said can only be compared to the number of people killed in battles among nations since 1950.

Read also: Worsening US-China ties, sudden monetary tightening, emergence of vaccine-resistant Covid strain top risks for 2022

Wafaa El-Sadr, director of ICAP, a global health center at Columbia University sees the staggering figure as almost certainly an undercount because of limited testing and people dying at home without medical attention, especially in poor parts of the world, such as India.

Hot spots have shifted over the 22 months since the outbreak began, turning different places on the world map red.

Now, the virus is pummeling Russia, Ukraine and other parts of Eastern Europe, especially where rumors, misinformation and distrust in government have hobbled vaccination efforts. In Ukraine, only 17 percent of the adult population is fully vaccinated; in Armenia, only 7 percent.

“What is uniquely different about this pandemic is it hit hardest the high-resource countries. That is the irony of COVID-19,” El-Sadr said.

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