The number of coronavirus infections worldwide hit 100 million on Wednesday and as of Thursday morning, another 100,000 new cases had been added, according to worldometer.info.
The grim milestone which seemed almost unimaginable about a year ago when the disease began spreading was reached as countries around the world struggle with shortfalls in the supply and distribution of vaccines.
It took about 11 months for worldwide infections to reach 50 million but in just three more months, the figure hit 100 million to indicate how fast the disease is currently spreading.
Around 668,250 cases have been reported each day since the beginning of 2021, a Reuters analysis showed.
COVID-19, the potentially dangerous pneumonia-like disease caused by the coronavirus and said to have emanated from a local Chinese market to spread to over 200 countries, has claimed more than 2.1 million lives, according to data from worldometer.info.
Worst still, health experts say the real death toll is likely much higher. Only confirmed COVID-19 deaths are included in the tally, which means that people who die without a firm diagnosis may not be included.
Similarly, many people will have been infected with the coronavirus without having a positive test to confirm it. In the early stages of the pandemic, fewer tests were available, and testing remains inadequate in many countries.
As of the time of filing this report, there were 101,482,659 confirmed cases across the globe, data from worldometers.info, an online dashboard that tracks the global number of confirmed coronavirus cases showed.
The official number of global cases is now at least five times the number of severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The five worst-hit countries: The U.S., India, Brazil, Russia and the U.K, France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, and Germany have a combined figure of nearly 70 million infections, about two-thirds of the global total.
There are 25,913,493 active cases as of the time of reporting. Of that number, about 25,806,161 (99.6 per cent) are in mild conditions while only 110,300 (0.4 per cent) cases are in serious or critical conditions.
As of the time of reporting, about 2,185,389 people have succumbed to the coronavirus, data from worldometers.info showed. That has exceeded the upper range of 290,000 to 650,000 annual deaths linked to influenza.
On January 15, the official global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surpassed 2 million.
The United States, which already has the highest number of reported infections in the world, is also the country with the highest death toll accounting for one in every five deaths reported worldwide each day.
With a total of 439,521 fatalities as of Thursday morning, the United States has reported almost twice as many deaths as Brazil, which has the second-highest death toll in the world.
More than two-thirds of the over 100 million people infected by COVID-19 across the world have recovered after treatment.
The figure indicates the level of success countries and health professionals have recorded in containing the virus.
As of Sunday morning, over 73 million recoveries have been recorded by worldometer.info.
According to the data, 73,380,809 patients won their battle against the disease.
Although people who recover from a viral infection often develop immunity against the same disease, it remains unclear whether this is the case with COVID-19 infection.
Lockdowns and vaccine roll-out
As nations continue to struggle to get enough vaccines to keep their populations safe, governments are returning several levels of restrictions and lockdowns to curb the spread of the disease.
Public health officials have urged people to take steps such as wearing masks, keeping a distance from others, and avoiding large gatherings in order to stop the spread of the virus.
Around 56 countries have begun vaccinating people for the coronavirus, administering at least 64 million doses. Israel leads the world on per capita vaccinations, innoculating 29 per cent of its population with at least one dose.
Meanwhile, none of the main western vaccines has yet been administered in Africa so far, almost two months after the first doses were rolled out in Europe.
Africa will have to wait “weeks if not months” before receiving COVID-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organization, according to various officials working towards getting doses for the continent, the BBC reported.
The Nigerian government said it will receive at least 100,000 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech approved COVID-19 vaccines by early February through the COVAX co-financing public-private facility.
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