Global novel Coronavirus death toll passes 4,00,000

Updated: 08 June, 2020 08:01 IST | Agencies | London

Health experts say it is still an undercount because many who died were not tested for the virus

People protest and demand justice for the death of five-year-old son of a black maid who on June 2 fell from the ninth floor of a building while under the watch of his mother’s white employer in Brazil. Pic/AFP
People protest and demand justice for the death of five-year-old son of a black maid who on June 2 fell from the ninth floor of a building while under the watch of his mother’s white employer in Brazil. Pic/AFP

The worldwide death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 4,00,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University that health experts say is still an undercount because many who died were not tested for the virus.

The milestone was reached on Sunday, a day after Brazil's government stopped publishing a running total of COVID-19 deaths and infections. Worldwide, at least 6.9 million people have been infected by the virus, according to Johns Hopkins. The US has seen nearly 110,000 confirmed virus-related deaths and Europe has recorded over 1,75,000 since the virus emerged in China late last year.

'Govt hiding true death toll'
Critics called the Brazil government's Saturday move an attempt to hide the true toll of the disease. It came after months of criticism from experts saying Brazil's statistics are woefully deficient, and in some cases manipulated, so it may never be possible to gain a real understanding of the depth of the pandemic in Latin America's largest nation.

Brazil's last official numbers showed it had recorded over 34,000 deaths, the third-highest in the world, just ahead of Italy. It reported nearly 6,15,000 cases, putting it at the second-highest, behind the US. Brazil, with about 210 million people, is the globe's seventh most populous nation. According to Worldometer, the real-time statistics provider, Brazil has seen a total of 36,044 deaths due to COVID-19 and 6,76,494 infections so far.

On Friday, the federal Health Ministry took down a website that had showed daily, weekly and monthly figures on infections and deaths in states. On Saturday, the site returned but only with the numbers for the previous 24 hours. Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted on Saturday that disease totals are "not representative" of the country's current situation.

A council of state health secretaries said it would fight the changes by Bolsonaro, who has dismissed the gravity of the pandemic and tried to thwart attempts to impose quarantines, curfews and social distancing, arguing those steps are causing more damage to the economy than the pandemic.

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First Published: 08 June, 2020 07:46 IST

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