Over four million infections of coronavirus have been recorded globally, leading to the deaths of over 280, 000 people, according to worldometer.info.
The latest grim milestone came on Sunday, about 90 days after the World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, when there were 118,000 confirmed cases and 4,000 deaths.
The first 41 cases were confirmed in Wuhan, China, on January 10. But the contagion has since spread to the world’s six continents and over 200 countries.
For most of its victims, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks after a combination of treatment therapy, leading to the recovery of almost 1.5 million sufferers.
But the virus is far more deadly especially for older adults and people with existing health problems. It can cause severe pneumonia that can make breathing almost impossible for the victim.
This has made ventilators, a piece of automated equipment that pumps air in and out of the lungs of patients unable to breathe on their own, very scarce and high in demand.
An average of 82,000 cases has been reported per day in the past week. About a third of all cases are in the United States, and over 43 per cent have been recorded in Europe.
Meanwhile, experts say the true spread and toll to the contagion is vastly understated due to widespread under-testing.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is besieged with multiple testing challenges, including delays in the collection of samples and submission of results.
A country of over 200 million populace with high alerts of community transmission has tested only about 20, 000 people, and recorded over 4, 000 infections since it recorded its index case on February 27th.
As of the time of reporting, there were 4,181,218 confirmed cases across the globe, data from worldometers.info, an online dashboard that tracks the global number of confirmed coronavirus cases showed.
Some severely affected countries in Europe, including Italy, France and Spain, have recorded a drop in daily case numbers over recent weeks, but they still recorded 2,000 to 5,000 new infections per day in the past week.
The four worst-hit countries: the U.S., Spain, U.K, and Italy alone have a combined figure of over two million infections, more than half of the global total.
There are 2,403,852 active cases as of the time of reporting.
Of that number, about 2,356,828 (98 per cent) are in mild conditions while over 47,024 (2 per cent) cases are in serious or critical conditions.
Meanwhile, about 1,493,490 people have recovered after treatment so far worldwide.
The United States which already has the highest number of reported infections in the world – 1, 367,638 – is the country with the highest death toll of more than 80, 000.
Europe, however, remains the worst-affected region with the combined death toll in Italy, Spain, France, and the U.K exceeding 110, 000 — demonstrating the high price nations can pay if the virus outstrips the capacity of a country’s healthcare system.
The death toll in hard-hit Italy surpassed 30,000 on Saturday, the third-highest death toll in the world behind the U.K., where more than 31,000 people had died.
Some experts believe the death toll could be higher as many people suspected of the disease die without being tested.
Countries have also continued to report inadequate testing kits for potential patients of the virus.
As many countries are taking steps to ease lockdown measures that have brought the world to a standstill over the past eight weeks, the epidemiological curve of infections still tilts towards an upward spike.
The WHO has warned that the repercussions of any premature end to lockdowns could be far more deadly. But several African countries have gradually begun easing lockdowns with the ban on public gatherings still in place.
While educational facilities remain closed in most African countries, businesses have been allowed to operate conditionally.
Nigeria started a “gradual” easing of COVID-19 lockdowns in three major states on May 4 amid a daily rise in infections and increased community transmission phase.
Since April 27, when Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, announced the plans to lift the lockdown, the country’s case count has increased by nearly 50 per cent. In the same period, Africa’s most populous country, has also recorded over 100 daily cases for almost two weeks, for the first time since the outbreak began.
In Ghana, another West African country, President Nana Akufo-Addo last week said, “lifting these restrictions does not mean we are letting our guard down… I am demanding even greater adherence to these measures.”
Italy, the first country to enact lockdown measures also started easing some restrictions on May 4 by permitting some factories to reopen. Spain relaxed lockdown rules on Sunday, allowing children outside under supervision.
Several U.S. states have reopened most essential businesses conditionally amid predictions that the unemployment rate could escalate.
In Asia, which accounts for just under 7 per cent of all cases, many countries have lifted most restrictions, and reopened schools.