In less than five days, a million new coronavirus infections were confirmed across the globe, a milestone that not just reflects the pathogen's devastating spread but also the upscale in testing.
On Sunday, the World Health Organization announced that COVID-19 cases across the world have crossed 20 million thresholds. The tally shot to over 21 million as of Thursday night, data from www.worldometer.info revealed.
The average number of daily new cases over the past five days was nearly 200, 000, higher than ever, even as the average weekly number of fatalities has been decreasing.
About 50, 000 lives have been lost in the past five days, taking the global death toll to over 750, 000.
The latest surge in the number of cases has been fuelled in part by the still-growing number of infections in the United States, which has the largest number in the world, and far-reaching outbreaks in large countries like Russia and Brazil.
The disease, which has gripped Europe, the U.S and Southeast Asia is also beginning to ravage South America and Africa, including Chile, Mexico, Colombia and Peru, and South Africa. Some of these nations are seeing their tallies of confirmed infections double every week or two.
There is no vaccine yet for coronavirus and the pathogen has been mutating in its pattern of spread. A study found that deadly disease can spread through the air and remains contagious for hours.
Upscale in Testing?
Experts believe there has been an upscale in testing which in part explains the rise in new found cases.
The cumbersomeness of getting screened is beginning to ease gradually as countries deploy various testing strategies.
In the U.S. where nearly 70 million of the country's over 300 million population have been screened so far, you can walk into a clinic, pharmacy, or even a local supermarket, and walk out again, nose swabbed, and tested.
Getting the result of your tests, on the other hand, is still a challenge due to delays from the labs.
Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy, has, on average, improved its testing regimen compared to previous figures. The west African nation has now tested over 340,000 out of the country's over 200 million population.
To further boost the country's testing capacity, the government on Wednesday approved N8.49 billion for the purchase of items needed to test for COVID-19.
Even with the increase in testing and number of cases, the total numbers of infections and deaths, representing cases in at least 200 countries, are virtually certain to be undercounts because of flawed screenings, political denial and asymptomatic patients who can spread the virus.
As of the time of filing this report, there are 21, 099, 879 confirmed cases across the globe, data from worldometers.info, an online dashboard that tracks global confirmed coronavirus cases.
The U.S. continues to lead the world in the number of confirmed cases, having about a quarter of the global tally with over 5.4 million infections, followed by Brazil with about 3.2 million cases and India with more than 2.4 million.
Russia is fourth placed with over 900, 000 cases while South Africa, the most impacted African country, is fifth globally with over 550, 000 infections.
There are 6, 393,193 active cases as of the time of reporting. Of that number, about 6,328, 702 (99 per cent) are in mild conditions while only 64, 491 (one per cent) cases are in serious or critical conditions.
Meanwhile, about 13, 948, 689 people have recovered after treatment worldwide.
The global deaths from coronavirus complications reached 757, 997 after Mexico recorded nearly 650 deaths in the last 24 hours, data from worldometers.info showed.
There has been an uptick of deaths in Mexico where more than 55, 000 people have succumbed to the contagion.
Some experts believe the death toll could be higher as many people suspected of the disease die without being tested.
The United States which already has the highest number of reported infections in the world, also has the highest death toll of over 170, 000.