The COVID-19 pandemic global death toll has hit the 5 million mark, according to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The center reported early Monday a grim milestone of 5,000,425 global deaths from the COVID outbreak.
The new death tally comes just months after 4 million deaths from COVID-19 were recorded in June.
The milestone arrives as some countries struggle to get one vaccine into their citizens’ arms, while other countries have begun inoculating their population with booster shots.
In an open letter appealing to the leaders of the G-20 nations who are meeting in Rome, the World Health Organization stressed the disparity in vaccine distribution between wealthy and low-income countries.
“The current vaccine equity gap between wealthier and low resource countries demonstrates a disregard for the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable,” the statement said. “For every 100 people in high-income countries, 133 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, while in low-income countries, only 4 doses per 100 people have been administered.”
The WHO letter further warned that inaction is needed for a lasting change in the fight against the pandemic. “Vaccine inequity is costing lives every day, and continues to place everyone at risk,” the letter noted.
“History and science make it clear: coordinated action with equitable access to public health resources is the only way to face down a global public health scourge like COVID-19. We need a strong, collective push to save lives, reduce suffering and ensure a sustainable global recovery.”