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Global Covid-19 death toll could hit 2m before vaccine in wide use: WHO

Reuters/Geneva, Switzerland
Filed on September 26, 2020 | Last updated on September 26, 2020 at 06.57 am
global, coronavirus, covid-19, death, toll, world health organization

(Reuters)

The number of deaths about nine months since the novel coronavirus was discovered in China is nearing 1 million.

The global death toll from Covid-19 could double to 2 million before a successful vaccine is widely used and could be even higher without concerted action to curb the pandemic, an official at the World Health Organization said on Friday.

"Unless we do it (take concerted action) ... the number you speak about (2 million deaths) is not only imaginable, but sadly very likely," Mike Ryan, head of the UN agency's emergencies programme, told a briefing on Friday.

The number of deaths about nine months since the novel coronavirus was discovered in China is nearing 1 million.

Ryan said young people should not be blamed for a recent increase in infections despite growing concerns that youths are driving its spread after restrictions and lockdowns were eased around the world.

"I really hope we don't get into finger wagging: it's all because of the youth," said Ryan. "The last thing a young person needs is an old person pontificating and wagging the finger."

The WHO is continuing talks with China about its possible involvement in the COVAX financing scheme designed to guarantee fast and equitable access globally to Covid-19 vaccine, a week after the deadline for committing passed.

"We're in discussions with China about the role they may play as we go forward," said Bruce Aylward, WHO senior adviser and head of the ACT-Accelerator programme to back vaccines, treatments and diagnostics against Covid-19.

Talks with China also include discussion of the world's second-largest economy potentially supplying vaccines to the scheme, he said.


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