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Coronavirus has now killed more than 2 million people worldwide: "A heart-wrenching milestone"

Up to 90,000 more COVID deaths projected within weeks
CDC projects up to 90,000 U.S. COVID deaths in next 3 weeks 02:24

The coronavirus has now killed more than 2 million people worldwide since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. The United States, with about 4% of the world's population, has reported about one-fifth of all reported deaths globally.

About 1 million people worldwide have died from coronavirus-related complications in the past three and a half months. On Thursday, 15,404 new deaths and 752,723 new cases were recorded worldwide.

In a statement, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called the 2 million deaths "a heart-wrenching milestone."

"Behind this staggering number are names and faces: the smile now only a memory, the seat forever empty at the dinner table, the room that echoes with the silence of a loved one," Guterres said.

The United States remains the worst-affected country with more than 389,000 deaths from over 23 million cases. More than 6 million people have been declared recovered.

After the U.S., the hardest-hit countries are Brazil with over 207,000 deaths from over 8 million cases, India with more than 151,000 deaths from over 10 million cases, Mexico with more than 137,000 deaths from over 1.5 million cases, and the United Kingdom with more than 86,000 deaths from over 3.2 million cases.

The country with the highest number of deaths compared with its population is Belgium, with 175 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Slovenia with 149, Bosnia-Herzegovina with 134, Italy with 134, and the Czech Republic with 131.

Employees of a funeral parlour take the coffin of a victim of COVID-19 out of the morgue of the Clinicas Hospital, in La Paz, Bolivia on January 14, 2021.  Photo by JORGE BERNAL/AFP via Getty Images

Europe overall has 646,489 deaths from 30 million cases; Latin America and the Caribbean, 542,333 deaths from nearly 17 million infections; and the United States and Canada, 406,214 deaths from 24 million cases.

Asia has reported 228,967 deaths from 14,510,781 cases, the Middle East 93,132 deaths from 4,330,451 cases, Africa 76,753 deaths from 3,179,230 cases, and Oceania 945 deaths from 31,443 cases.

Undertakers lower the coffin of a person that died due to COVID-19 in to a grave at Glen Forest cemetery in Harare on January 14, 2021 where gravediggers say the rising COVID-19 related death toll in Zimbabwe is keeping them and undertakers busy. Photo by JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP via Getty Images

Since the start of the pandemic, the number of tests conducted has greatly increased while testing and reporting techniques have improved, leading to a rise in reported cases.

However the number of diagnosed cases is only a part of the real total number of infections as a significant number of less serious or asymptomatic cases always remain undetected.

As the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines ramps up around the world, Guterres implored the world's leading economies to make sure the distribution is equitable.

"Vaccines are reaching high income countries quickly, while the world's poorest have none at all. Science is succeeding — but solidarity is failing," he said. "Governments have a responsibility to protect their populations, but 'vaccinationalism' is self-defeating and will delay a global recovery."

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