NEW YORK: The death toll from COVID-19 reached half a million people, a grim milestone for the global pandemic that seems to be resurgent in some countries even as other regions are still grappling with the first wave.
The respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus has been particularly dangerous for the elderly, although other adults and children are also among the 500,000 fatalities and more than ten million reported cases.
The overall rate of death has reduced in recent weeks but health experts have expressed concerns about record numbers of new cases in countries like the United States, India and Brazil, as well as new outbreaks in parts of Asia.
More than 4,700 people are dying every 24 hours from COVID-19-linked illness on Sunday which equates to 196 people per hour, or one person every 18 seconds.
About one-quarter of all the deaths so far have been in the United States. There has been a recent surge in cases have in several states that reopened earlier.
The number of cases in Latin America on Sunday surpassed those in Europe, making the region the second most affected by the pandemic after North America.
In just five months since the outbreak emerged, the COVID-19 death toll has overtaken the number of people who die annually from malaria, one of the most deadly infectious diseases.
The death rate averages out to 78,000 per month, compared with 64,000 AIDS-related deaths and 36,000 malaria deaths, according to 2018 figures from the World Health Organization.
Public health experts are looking at how demographics affect the death rates in different regions. For instance, some European countries with older populations have reported higher fatality rates,
In April, a report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control looked at more than 300,000 cases in 20 countries and found that about 46 percent of all fatalities were over the age of 80.
In Indonesia, hundreds of children are believed to have died, although it has been attributed to malnutrition, anemia and inadequate child health facilities.
Health experts caution that the official data likely does not tell the full story, with many believing that both cases and deaths have likely been underreported in some countries.