Global coronavirus death toll passes 300,000 with more than 4.4 million infected

14 May 2020, 20:04

Morgue workers in Istanbul removing the coffin of a woman who died with coronavirus
Morgue workers in Istanbul removing the coffin of a woman who died with coronavirus. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

More than 300,000 people across the world have now died after testing positive for coronavirus, while more than 4.4 million have been infected.

The grim milestone was passed at around 6pm on Thursday evening, with the US easily remaining the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Almost 85,000 deaths have been recorded in the States, which is almost as high as the next three worst-hit countries combined - the UK, Italy and Spain - according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University in America.

Meanwhile, 1.4 million people in the US have so far contracted the virus, with New York being the state hit hardest following 27,567 deaths - a figure that would put it third-highest in the world if America was broken up into individual states.

Britain remains at the heart of Europe's outbreak, experiencing a greater number of deaths than any other country on the continent and second to only Russia in the number of confirmed cases.

The eastern European nation has now seen 252,245 people test positive for the disease, but the country's official figures show only 2,305 people have died with coronavirus.

Every country records and reports coronavirus deaths in different ways, while some governments censor information, meaning the real figure could be far higher.

Outside of Europe, the next worst-hit nation after the US is Brazil, which has had 13,555 deaths and almost 200,000 confirmed cases.

Governments across the globe have begun easing lockdown measures in attempts to restart their economies.

On Thursday, thousands of businesses in New Zealand reopened their doors to customers as the country relaxed some of its social distancing restrictions.

Shops, cafes, and public parks have all opened up as the government moved into Level Two of its restrictions, described as a "safer new normal," with some overnight hairdressers witnessing queues round the block.

New Zealand has not recorded a single new coronavirus case in the past three days, with authorities saying the chance of community transmission is now very low.

Most gatherings are still limited to 10 people and social distancing guidelines will remain in place under the Level Two measures.

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that coronavirus "may never go away" and stressed that nobody "can predict when this disease will disappear."

WHO emergencies director Mike Ryan said on Wednesday that Covid-19 could become endemic to the world's population and may remain a permanent worry in society.

Mr Ryan said: "It is important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away.

"I think it is important we are realistic and I don't think anyone can predict when this disease will disappear.

"I think there are no promises in this and there are no dates. This disease may settle into a long problem, or it may not be."

Meanwhile, Dr Hans Kluge, World Health Organisation regional director for Europe, said the UK remained among the top 10 countries around the world reporting the highest number of coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.

During a virtual WHO briefing he said: "Across the European region we're seeing an overall slowing of the pandemic.

"But this remains a time of sorrow for many."

Dr Kluge, during the WHO Europe briefing, said: "We each have a role to play in keeping the virus at bay.

"We are now at a fork in the road - where our actions and individual behaviour determines which path we follow."

But he cautioned: "Emergency fatigue threatens precious gains we have made against this virus.

"Reports of distrust in authorities and conspiracy thinking are fuelling movements against physical distancing, other people are behaving over-cautiously.

"Our behaviour today will set the course for the pandemic. As governments lift restrictions, you, the people, are the main actors."

It is hoped a vaccine may be found for the virus, and over 100 potential vaccines are being developed by scientists around the world.

But Mr Ryan said the chances of a successful vaccine being found was a "massive moonshot", and pointed out that even with a vaccine, diseases such as measles have yet to be eradicated.

He also said that a "massive effort" was needed from governments to gain control over the virus and the spread of it.

But WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gave some light to the situation and said it was possible to gain control with effort.

He said: "The trajectory is in our hands, and it's everybody's business, and we should all contribute to stop this pandemic."

Meanwhile, the UK's coronavirus death toll rose by 428 on Thursday, bringing the total number of confirmed fatal cases to 33,614.

In total, 1,593,902 people have been tested and 233,151 have tested positive.

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Kate Forbes

Forbes presses UK Government for action over ‘astronomical’ energy price rises

Russia Griner

US basketball star Brittney Griner appears in Russian court

Ukraine Russia War

Scores feared dead after Russian missile hits Ukrainian shopping centre

Germany G7 Summit

Zelensky tells G7 leaders that Ukraine forces face crucial moment

Russia Ukraine War

Russia ‘pouring fire’ on eastern Ukrainian city as offensive mounts

Emergency services are on the scene

Shopping centre in Ukraine with 1,000 people inside hit in Russian missile strike

Norway Shooting

Suspect in fatal Oslo Pride attack ordered held in pre-trial detention

Poland Russia Ukraine War

War-damaged Russian weapons go on display in Poland

Sean 'Diddy' Combs

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs receives lifetime honour at BET Awards

Putin will be dead within two years, it has been claimed.

Putin suffering 'grave' illnesses and will be dead in two years, Ukraine spy chief claims

South Africa Nightclub Deaths

Mystery remains over deaths of 21 teenagers at South African nightclub

Boris Johnson compared the resistance to the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the fight against Nazi Germany

PM compares resistance to Russian invasion of Ukraine to fight against Nazi Germany


G7 leaders confer with Zelensky as they prepare new aid for Ukraine

Climate Coral Reefs

Kenya turns to reef nurseries to combat coral bleaching

Czech Train Crash

One dead after Czech high-speed train collides with engine

Afghanistan Earthquake

Child death toll in Afghanistan quake rises to 155