By Associated Press |
BARCELONA – The confirmed global death toll from the COVID-19 virus reached at least 400,000 fatalities on Sunday, a day after the government of Brazil broke with standard public health protocols by ceasing to publish updates of the number of deaths and infections in the hard-hit South American country.
Worldwide, at least 6.9 million people have been infected by the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University, whose aggregated tally has become the main worldwide reference for monitoring the disease. Its running counter says United States leads the world with nearly 110,000 confirmed virus-related deaths. Europe as a whole has recorded more than 175,000 since the virus emerged in China late last year.
Health experts, however, believe that the John Hopkins tally falls short of showing the true tragedy of the pandemic.
Many governments have struggled to produce statistics that can reasonably be considered as true indicators of the pandemic given the scarcity of diagnostic tests especially in the first phase of the crisis. Authorities in Italy and Spain, with over 60,000 combined deaths, have acknowledged that their death count is larger than the story the numbers tell.
Brazil’s government has stopped publishing a running total of coronavirus deaths and infections; critics say it’s an attempt to hide the true toll of the disease.