As many people have died from COVID-19 as live in Los Angeles. The known coronavirus death toll across the world passed 4 million on Thursday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, though the actual number of dead is likely far higher. The World Health Organization previously said the official deaths were likely to be a "significant undercount" and noted direct and indirect deaths (such as with people who couldn't be treated for other conditions at overflowing hospitals) could be two or three times the reported tally, per Reuters. Many countries report only COVID-19 deaths that occur in hospitals, per the New York Times. "The numbers may not tell the complete story, and yet they're still really staggering numbers globally," Johns Hopkins epidemiologist Jennifer B. Nuzzo tells the Times.
The world hit 1 million dead in nine months, 2 million in 3.5 months, 3 million in 3 months, and now 4 million in just 2.5 months, per the Times. But by Reuters' count, the world hit 4 million reported deaths weeks ago, back in mid-June. "The top five countries by total number of deaths—the United States, Brazil, India, Russia, and Mexico—represent about 50% of all deaths in the world," it reported at the time. More than 600,000 deaths have been reported in the US, and more than 500,000 in Brazil. The world is now reporting about 7,900 COVID-19 deaths per day, down from 18,000 per day in January, per NBC News. But WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says "far too many countries in every region of the world are seeing sharp spikes in cases and hospitalizations," owing to "fast-moving variants and shocking inequity in vaccination," per the Times. (Read more COVID-19 stories.)