Global COVID-19 death toll hits 150,000

Global COVID-19 death toll hits 150,000

FILE PHOTO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: Mortuary employees transport the body of a person in an elderly residence following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Brussels, Belgium April 14, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

REUTERS: The number of deaths worldwide linked to the novel coronavirus reached 150,000 on Friday (Apr 17), according to a Reuters tally.

The first death came in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on Jan 9. It took 83 days for the first 50,000 deaths to be recorded and just eight more for the toll to climb to 100,000. It took another eight days to go from 100,000 to 150,000.

The death toll is still far short of the so-called Spanish flu, which began in 1918 and is estimated to have killed more than 20 million people by the time it petered out in 1920.

The novel coronavirus is believed to have emerged in a Wuhan market where wild animals were sold before quickly spreading around the world. Much remains to be determined about it, scientists say, including just how lethal it is.

The United States has the highest single death toll, with the number of fatalities crossing 36,773 as of 8.30pm on Friday, according to a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University. It also has the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 at 700,282 detected infections.

The infections and fatalities are spread unevenly across the country, with more densely populated places such as New York accounting for nearly half the total US deaths.

Sweeping stay-at-home orders in 42 states to combat the new coronavirus have shuttered businesses, disrupted lives and decimated the economy, and some protesters have begun taking to the streets to urge governors to rethink the restrictions.

READ: Trump's COVID-19 reopening plan has big holes, health experts say

More than 2,207,730 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in 193 countries and territories, according to figures collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Italy, which has seen its number of daily cases decline slightly, has the second-largest number of deaths. It reported 575 COVID-19-related deaths on Friday and 3,493 new cases, taking its total to more than 170,000 confirmed cases and nearly 23,000 deaths.

Spain is in third place with nearly 19,500 deaths, and more than 188,000 confirmed cases.

France, which has the fourth-highest death toll in the world at 18,681, has seen signs of the lockdown having a positive effect. The total of people in intensive care units (ICU) fell for the ninth day in a row, at 6,027, a low since Apr 1.

In Asia, China abruptly raised its death toll in Wuhan by 50 per cent, adding 1,290 deaths to the tally and bringing it up to 3,869.

The newly reported deaths were initially left out of the count because of lapses, state media said on Friday, but Beijing dismissed claims that there had been any kind of cover-up.

The revision were "an attempt to leave no case undocumented", the World Health Organization (WHO) said. 

READ: China's revised COVID figures are a bid to 'leave no case undocumented': WHO

Indonesia became the worst-hit country in Southeast Asia on Friday, with a record 407 new cases, taking its total to 5,923.

Experts have said that the number of tests conducted by Indonesia is insufficient for a country with a population of 260 million.

Indonesia had 24 more COVID-19 related deaths on Friday, taking its total fatalities to 520.

In many countries, official data includes only deaths reported in hospitals, not those in homes or nursing homes.

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Source: Reuters/AFP/nh

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