The number of coronavirus infections worldwide has hit 60 million, nearly a year since the highly infectious disease began spreading around the globe.
The grim milestone was reached amid substantial progress in the development of a vaccine for the disease.
Since a second wave of the infections hit Europe and America, the figures have been escalating, smashing the records of previous pandemics.
The figure has more than doubled in four months after reaching 15 million on July 22.
The world had reached a million cases of infections on April 2. But the figure had doubled just 13 days later on April 15, and a week later on April 22, the tally reached 2.5million.
When the number crossed 10 million on July 1, WHO head, Tedros Ghebreyesus, had said the worst was yet to come, warning that the virus would infect many more people if governments did not start to implement the right policies.
After the global caseload crossed the 50 million thresholds on November 9, an additional five million infections were added in the next seven days, indicating how the second wave of the pandemic was dangerously spreading.
The world reached the 60 millionth milestone eight days later Tuesday evening, according to data from worldometers.info, a COVID-19 tracking site.
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COVID-19, the potentially dangerous pneumonia-like disease caused by the coronavirus and said to have emanated from a local Wuhan market in China to spread to over 200 countries, has claimed more than 1.4 million lives.
The United States, which is worst affected, is nearing 13 million cases and has recorded over 265,000 deaths from the coronavirus since the first recorded fatality in February.
The race to find a cure for the disease is also gaining momentum amid the rising cases and deaths.
Last Sunday, Pfizer said its coronavirus vaccine candidate was more than 90 per cent effective, increasing prospects that a cure is now much around the corner.
A few days later, another vaccine developed by Moderna was announced to be demonstrating about 95 per cent success rate in early clinical trials.
There is no proven cure yet but preliminary results from the vaccine increase confidence that a vaccine can train the immune system to fight the novel coronavirus without serious side effects.
Though still months away from widespread distribution, the two vaccine candidates that have recorded high degrees of success at clinical trials have raised hopes that a cure for the deadly virus is near.
As of the time of filing this report, there are 60,048,290 confirmed cases across the globe, data from worldometers.info, an online dashboard that tracks the global number of confirmed coronavirus cases showed.
The official number of global cases is now at least five times the number of severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to WHO data.
The five worst-hit countries: the U.S., India, Brazil, France, and Russia alone have a combined figure of nearly 30 million infections, more than half of the global total.
There are 17,163,023 active cases as of the time of reporting. Of that number, about 17,059,446 (99 per cent) are in mild conditions while only 103,577 cases are in serious or critical conditions.
As of the time of reporting, about 1,413,386 people have succumbed to coronavirus, data from worldometers.info showed. That has exceeded the upper range of 290,000 to 650,000 annual deaths linked to influenza.
The United States which already has the highest number of reported infections in the world is also the country with the highest death toll with over 265, 000.
Some experts said the death toll could be higher as many people suspected of the disease die without being tested.
Countries have continued to report inadequate testing for potential patients of the virus.
More than two-thirds of the over 60 million people infected by COVID-19 across the world have recovered after treatment.
The figure indicates the level of success countries and health professionals have recorded in containing the virus.
As of Tuesday evening, over 41 million recoveries have been recorded by worldometer.info.
According to the data, 41,471,881 patients won their battle against the disease.
Although people who recover from a viral infection often develop immunity against the same disease, it remains unclear whether this is the case with COVID-19 infection.
The World Health Organization had said that one-time infection of the coronavirus has not yet been proven to result in immunity.
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