Nov 1, 2021 - World

Global COVID death toll tops 5 million

A COVID memorial.

COVID memorial near the Washington Monument. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The global toll of confirmed deaths from the coronavirus surpassed 5 million on Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Why it matters: The first known death from COVID-19 was announced on Jan. 11, 2020, in Wuhan, China, where the pandemic began. Nearly two years later, the U.S. tops the globe with 745,836 deaths. Brazil follows with 607,824.

  • The actual number of deaths is believed to be higher due to possible data concealment and cases that were overlooked in 2019.

Between the lines: While billions of COVID vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, disparities in global vaccine rollout persist, with low-income countries lagging far behind wealthier ones.

  • Just under 6% of Africa's population are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Almost 250 million COVID cases have been reported worldwide, John Hopkins University data shows.

What to watch: Eye-catching memorials — honoring individual victims with flags, hearts, ribbons, rocks, quilt panels and other simple objects — have sprouted from London to L.A., Indonesia to Argentina, AP reports.

What they're saying: "With almost 50,000 deaths a week, the pandemic is far from over — and that’s just the reported deaths," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the World Health Summit.

Go deeper