Global coronavirus cases surged past 30 million with 944,000 deaths on Thursday, a grim milestone showing four nations — the United States, India, Brazil and Russia — account for about half of the pandemic.
The infection rate rose to 3,866 per 1 million people globally, with 20.4 million people recovered from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University and Google data trackers.
The overall figures are up from the 25 million coronavirus infections reached just two and a half weeks ago. Those cases were accompanied by 843,000 deaths and 16.4 million recoveries as of August 30.
Mindful of the strain on hospitals and clinics, the World Health Organization urged governments and health care leaders to address persistent threats to the health and safety of health workers and patients.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded all of us of the vital role health workers play to relieve suffering and save lives,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. “No country, hospital or clinic can keep its patients safe unless it keeps its health workers safe."
Four nations with half the infections
The United States, India, Brazil and Russia accounted for 57% of the cases and 46% of the overall mortality. With 6.7 million infections and 197,000 deaths, the United States has a staggering lead in both categories despite being home to just 4% of the world's 7.8 billion population.
India has 5.1 million cases and 83,000 deaths; Brazil 4.4 million cases and almost 135,000 deaths; and Russia 1 million and 19,000 deaths.
It took just 37 days for the number of infections to rise by another 10 million since the 20 million mark was reached on August 11.
Doctors, scientists and health officials worldwide says COVID-19 affects different people differently.
Most infected people develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization. The most common symptoms are fever, a dry cough and shortness of breath. Less common is a loss of smell, diarrhea and vomiting, and skin problems. Some people are contagious without having symptoms.