COVID-19 now infects one million new people every week as deaths worldwide exceed 500,000

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Coronavirus deaths worldwide have exceeded 500,000 and infections have exceeded 10 million, two frightening reminders that the deadliest pandemic of the modern era is stronger than ever.

The infection milestone is a rejection for health experts and world leaders – including US President Donald Trump – who had hoped at the start of the pandemic that the virus would go away with the heat of summer. Instead, infections are multiplying faster than ever.

It took four months after the first appearance of the pathogen in the Chinese city of Wuhan to reach 1 million infections. The spread of the coronavirus has steadily accelerated, cutting the delay to an additional one million cases every week now.

“This is a surprising figure,” said Richard Riggs, medical director of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, about the 10 million milestones. “It looks like it will continue for some time.”

The final milestone for cases can only be used as a relative marker, as the actual number is likely to be higher given the difficulty in tracking infections. The death toll is also sobering, and some health officials predict that 1 million may not be far away.

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