Million Covid deaths: ‘Mind-numbing milestone’ saddens World Health chiefs
GLOBAL Covid-19 deaths reached a major milestone yesterday as the toll surpassed 1million.
The pandemic has devastated the global economy, overloaded health systems and changed the way people live around the world.
‘So many people have lost so many people and haven’t had the chance to say goodbye,’ World Health Organization spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a UN briefing in Geneva.
‘Many people died alone. It’s a terribly difficult and lonely death. The one positive thing about this virus is it is suppressible, it is not the flu.’ UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres called the seven-figure death toll — reached in less than nine months — an ‘agonising’ and ‘mind-numbing figure’.
‘They were fathers and mothers, wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues,’ said the Portuguese diplomat. ‘The pain has been multiplied by the savageness of this disease.’ Mr Guterres added: ‘There is no end in sight to the spread of the virus, the loss of jobs, the disruption of education, the upheaval to our lives.’
But he said the pandemic could be overcome by responsible leadership, co-operation and science, as well as precautions such as social distancing and wearing face masks.
Any vaccine must be ‘available and affordable to all’, he urged.
The WHO’s head of emergencies Dr Mike Ryan (pictured) said: ‘It’s a race against this virus, and it’s a race to save lives. It’s not a race between companies, and it’s not a race between countries.’