(NewsNation Now) — The global death toll from COVID-19 topped 2 million Friday as vaccines developed at breakneck speed are being rolled out around the world in an all-out campaign to vanquish the virus.
The milestone was reached just over a year after the coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The number of dead, compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the population of Brussels, Mecca, Houston or Vienna.
It took eight months to hit 1 million dead. It took less than four months after that to reach the next million. Worldwide there have been more than 93 million confirmed coronavirus cases, according to JHU.
“Behind this terrible number are names and faces — the smile that will now only be a memory, the seat forever empty at the dinner table, the room that echoes with the silence of a loved one,” said U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres. He said the toll “has been made worse by the absence of a global coordinated effort.”
“Science has succeeded, but solidarity has failed,” he said.
In the U.S., the overall death toll from COVID-19 has eclipsed 389,000, according to Johns Hopkins University, and is closing in fast on the number of Americans killed in World War II, about 407,000. Confirmed infections have topped 23.3 million.
The daily figure is subject to revision, but deaths have been rising sharply over the past two and a half months, and the country is now in the most lethal phase of the outbreak yet, even as the vaccine is being rolled out. New cases are running at nearly a quarter-million per day on average. Across the United States, more than 128,000 people were hospitalized with the virus, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
More than 11.1 million Americans have received their first shot of the vaccine, or less than 3% of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is well short of the hundreds of millions who experts say will need to be inoculated to vanquish the outbreak. The CDC reports that more than 27.7 million doses have been distributed across the country.