Ian Payne 4am - 7am
Worldwide Covid death toll hits 2.5 million as fatalities slow down
25 February 2021, 18:44 | Updated: 25 February 2021, 18:48
The worldwide coronavirus death toll has hit 2.5 million but the number of new fatalities appears to be slowing down.
Data gathered by Johns Hopkins University (JHU) since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic shows that the grim milestone was reached on Thursday afternoon.
It comes just a year after the onset of the outbreak and as countries around the world begin ramping up their vaccine efforts.
The total number of deaths attributed to the virus is greater than the combined populations of Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, or almost 30 per cent higher than the population of Northern Ireland.
For months, the US has been the worst-hit country in terms of both deaths and cases.
The country has recorded more than 506,000 deaths, which is more than double the tally of Brazil - nearly 250,000 - which lies in second.
The USA's total equates to roughly 20 per cent of the global death toll, despite it making up around five per cent of the world's population.
Mexico, India and the UK make up the rest of the top five, with Britain having the worst death toll in Europe and being the continent's only nation to have surpassed 100,000 fatalities.
Some countries have been hailed for their efforts in combating the virus, with New Zealand recording just four deaths in the past six months and Taiwan seeing just nine deaths throughout the entire pandemic, according to JHU.
On Wednesday, officials at the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Covid deaths had fallen by 20 per cent last week, suggesting the worst of the outbreak could be behind some nations.
However, experts believe the current global tally may be somewhat higher than reported due to a lack of testing in some parts of the world.
But with vaccines being rolled out across the planet - mostly in Europe and North America - there are some signs that the pandemic is slowing.
The US has recorded more than 28.3 million cases of the virus, which is just below the combined total of the next four countries combined - India (11 million), Brazil (10.3 million), the UK (4.2 million) and Russia (4.2 million).
On Monday, the States became the first nation to hit more than half a million fatalities.
This figure almost matches the total number of Americans killed in the Second World War, the Korean War and the War in Vietnam combined.
It also roughly equates to the population of Kansas City, Missouri, and is greater than the population of Miami, Florida.
Experts also believe the country's true tally is significantly higher, in part because of the many cases that have been overlooked, especially early in the outbreak.