At least 300,000 people globally have died of COVID-19 as of Thursday afternoon, according to a database maintained by Johns Hopkins University.
Almost one-third of those fatalities have been reported in the United States, where nearly 85,000 people have died during the coronavirus pandemic. Overall, the U.S. has the world’s 7th-highest death rate from the virus.
More than 4.4 million people globally have been sickened by the coronavirus as of Thursday. With 1.4 million confirmed cases, the U.S. has, by far, the world’s highest number of infections. Russia and the U.K. have the second and third highest number of cases, with about 250,000 and 230,000 confirmed infections, respectively.
As the death toll from the virus reached yet another grim milestone this week, the World Health Organization warned that countries may have to grapple with COVID-19 for a long time to come.
“This virus may never go away,” WHO official Dr. Michael Ryan told reporters on Wednesday, adding: “This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities.”
The world reached the milestone as public health experts warn that President Donald Trump is rushing to reopen the U.S. too quickly and has failed to orchestrate an adequate national response.
“Our window of opportunity is closing,” Rick Bright, an ousted government vaccine official, said in testimony before Congress on Thursday. “If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities.”
As of Thursday, 11 countries had eclipsed the COVID-19 death toll in China, where the virus first emerged this winter.