Coronavirus: Global COVID-19 deaths surpass half a million in grim milestone

Global deaths from coronavirus have surpassed 500,000 in a grim new milestone, as some countries continue to grapple with the first wave.

More than 10 million global COVID-19 cases have been reported, according to the latest official figures, with the respiratory infection being particularly dangerous for the elderly.

While the overall death rate has flattened in recent weeks, health experts have expressed concerns about record numbers of new cases in countries including the US, India and Brazil, as well as new outbreaks in parts of Asia.

The virus is still circulating widely in Europe, with new clusters of cases in Leicester, which could be the first UK city to go into a local lockdown, as well as a Swiss nightclub in Zurich.

Meanwhile, Poland and France are heading towards normalcy after both countries held elections that had been delayed by the virus.

Around one-quarter of all deaths so far have been in the US and a recent surge in cases have been reported in a handful of southern and western states that reopened earlier and more aggressively.

Overall, the US has the highest death rate with 128,000 fatalities and more than 2.5 million cases – roughly twice that of Brazil, which has the second-highest number of deaths at 57,000.

New York, once the epicentre of the pandemic in the US, is now “on the exact opposite end”, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, with the state reporting just five new deaths on Saturday, its lowest number since mid-March.

In Latin America, the number of cases surpassed those diagnosed in Europe on Sunday, making the region the second most affected by the pandemic after North America.

The first recorded death from the virus was on 9 January and was a 61-year-old man from the Chinese city of Wuhan who was a regular shopper at a wet market that has been identified as the source of the outbreak.

In just five months, the number of people who have died with COVID-19 has overtaken the number of people who die every year from malaria – one of the most deadly infectious diseases.

The death rate averages out to around 78,000 a month, which compares to 64,000 AIDS-related deaths and 36,000 malaria deaths, according to the World Health Organisation.

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