Global death toll from Covid-19 passes 3 million people

The latest grim milestone was reached on Saturday, 16 months after the pandemic began

The global death toll from Covid-19 has passed 3 million people - more than the entire population of Greater Manchester or the West Midlands.

The figures, compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the US, are likely to be a significant underestimate of the true death toll of the virus, due to under reporting particularly at the beginning of the outbreak.

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The total number of infections is now estimated at around 140 million worldwide, with approximately 80 million people thought to have recovered.

Aerial view of the graves of COVID-19 victims at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, Amazon state, Brazil, on April 15, 2021. Global death toll from Covid-19 passes 3 million people (Photo by MICHAEL DANTAS/AFP via Getty Images)

The official death toll has risen rapidly in the last few months, after hitting 1 million in June 2020, and 2 million in January 2021.

The virus was first reported in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 and is thought to have originated from the Huanan seafood wholesale market.

Vaccines and new variants

Vaccination programmes are now underway across the world, with cases and deaths dropping significantly in some countries, though setbacks due to emerging variants and vaccine supply issues mean some countries are still dealing with substantial outbreaks.

Richer countries have been criticised for holding onto large numbers of vaccines while some poorer countries struggle to get to grips with successive waves of the virus.

Countries like the UK and Portugal benefited from successful vaccination efforts which have seen cases drop significantly, after initially suffering from major surges of the virus.

This has allowed them to begin to open up society once again, while nearby countries like France have been forced to renew restrictions over concerns about a third wave.

Brazil has been particularly badly impacted throughout the pandemic, with a daily death toll of 3000 or so in recent weeks, driven by a new variant of the virus which is more .

The country’s president Jair Bolsonaro has consistently played down the threat of the virus, and while vaccines are now being distributed, pace is slow due to supply issues.

India reported a record-breaking 200,000 daily cases on Thursday (15 April) bringing the total in the country to more than 14 million.