COVID Has Killed More Than Five Million People in the World so far
Up to today (October 30, 2021), COVID-19 has caused more than 5 million deaths globally (Figure 1). There have been at least three peaks of the daily number of COVID deaths in the past two years as shown in Figure 2. It shows a downward trend of the peak numbers of COVID deaths, but it is still claiming about 8,500 lives every day.
The top 12 countries of the total number of COVID deaths are shown in Figure 3. USA ranks the highest with 765,722 COVID deaths. The second, third and fourth highest are Brazil, India and Mexico, claiming 607,504, 457,773 and 287,951 lives, respectively. Just these top four countries have more than 2 million COVID-death so far.
Yet we may have to prepare for a sharp rebound of the daily number of COVID deaths in the coming months as many countries decided to switch from the ‘lockdown approach’ to the ‘coexist with the virus approach’. The decisions are based on the assumption of the effectiveness of the vaccines and a high percentage of people being vaccinated. However, the recent surge in the number of confirmed cases and the number of COVID deaths in Singapore raises a new concern and makes people hesitate.
A Case Study of Singapore
Singapore is well known to be one of the lowest case fatality ratio (CFR) countries in the world, you may refer to my article (Yiu, 2021 in Chinese) or Reuter’s (2020) for more details on this issue. In my article, I posted the following Figure 4 to show that the CFR of Singapore is only 0.2% (one of the points below the 0.5% line), in comparison with 1.6% in USA and 7.6% in Mexico, etc.
However, since Singapore has decided to switch to the ‘coexist with the virus approach’ recently, the number of COVID deaths has surged to an unprecedented high. Figure 5 shows an alarming proportion of the surge in comparison with the global situation. The daily COVID deaths per million people has jumped from almost zero to over 2 in just about one month time. It doubles the world’s average 0.93 number of COVID deaths per million people.
There have been various guesses on the reasons of the upsurge. One of the common guesses is whether the vaccinated proportion of the population is high or not? Figure 6 shows that more than 80% of Singaporeans has already received at least one-dose vaccination in comparison with just 50% in the world average. In other words, this guess may not be a good reason for the upsurge of COVID deaths.
The Straits Time (2021), on the other hand, reported that it is the Delta variant that caused “a very rapid exponential growth of cases and in large numbers”. It is worth conducting an urgent investigation in the situation as it is a testing case on whether ‘coexist with the virus approach’ should be taken or not.
Reuters (2020) Why is Singapore’s COVID-19 death rate the world’s lowest, September 17. https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-singapore-explainer-idUSKBN2680TF
Straits Times (2021) Why the surge in Covid-19 deaths in S’pore, and what it means for the future, August 23. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/why-the-surge-in-covid-19-deaths-and-what-it-means-for-the-future
Yiu, C.Y. 姚松炎 (2021) Which Country has the lowest COVID CFR? 那一國在COVID疫症中的確診者死亡率最低？Vocus, February 19. https://vocus.cc/eyanalysispoliecon/602f75d5fd89780001a4e226