More than 4 million people around the world have died of Covid-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
In total, three countries account for more than a third of all global deaths. The United States, which has the highest number of fatalities at 606,000, accounts for 15% of the global total, followed by Brazil and India.
The grim milestone, announced Wednesday, comes as new cases and deaths are dropping in the US and Europe, where significant numbers of residents have been vaccinated. But some developing countries, such as Indonesia, are still facing surging outbreaks, as authorities struggle to secure enough vaccines to protect citizens.
In a statement on Thursday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the pandemic is “far from over,” warning of the emergence of more transmissible, more deadly variants that are more likely to undermine the effectiveness of current vaccines if the virus is allowed to continue to spread.
“Vaccines offer a ray of hope — but most of the world is still in the shadows. The virus is outpacing vaccine distribution,” he said, calling for a global plan to boost vaccine production, ensure equitable distribution and tackle vaccine hesitancy.
“To realize this plan, I am calling for an Emergency Task Force that brings together all the countries with vaccine production capacities, the World Health Organization, the global vaccine alliance GAVI and international financial institutions able to deal with the relevant pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers, and other key stakeholders,” he said.