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An image showing the number: 6,001,094

The estimated global death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic surpassed 6 million people on Monday, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. (Photo: Screenshot/Johns Hopkins)

Two Full Years and 6 Million Dead: Covid-19 Pandemic Latest Grim Milestone

While "less than 7% of people in low-income countries are fully vaccinated," Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said the U.S. must "invest more in global vaccination efforts immediately."

Jon Queally

A full two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, a grim milestone was reached Monday as the global death toll surpassed 6 million people—a figure much higher, say many experts, than it would be otherwise if vaccinations had been made more widely available worldwide and not refused by so many who did have access.

As of this writing on Monday, the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center estimates that 6,001,094 people have died from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, otherwise known as Covid-19.

The Associated Press reports:

Death rates worldwide are still highest among people unvaccinated against the virus, said Tikki Pang, a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore’s medical school and co-chair of the Asia Pacific Immunization Coalition.

"This is a disease of the unvaccinated—look what is happening in Hong Kong right now, the health system is being overwhelmed," said Pang, the former director of research policy and cooperation with the World Health Organization. "The large majority of the deaths and the severe cases are in the unvaccinated, vulnerable segment of the population."

It took the world seven months to record its first million deaths from the virus after the pandemic began in early 2020. Four months later another million people had died, and 1 million have died every three months since, until the death toll hit 5 million at the end of October. Now it has reached 6 million—more than the populations of Berlin and Brussels combined, or the entire state of Maryland.

While Johns Hopkins is among the institutions tracking verifiable infections, deaths, hospitalizations, and other metrics, most experts agree that the real death toll during the pandemic is much higher than 6 million.

Last week, Oxfam International said in a new report that it believes over 19 million deaths can be attributed to the pandemic, including excess deaths over the last two years from other causes that would not have occurred if not for the existence of the pandemic and the stresses it placed on public health systems, individuals, and communities.

In November of last year, a team at The Economist estimated that the real number of excess deaths during the pandemic was somewhere between 14.1 million and 23.8 million people.

Responding to Monday's new milestone, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said that while the "real number is certainly greater" than 6 million, "less than 7% of people in low-income countries are fully vaccinated," and she said the U.S. must "invest more in global vaccination efforts immediately."

That was the same message that Oxfam sent last week, as it characterized the pandemic as one fueled by the greed of pharmaceutical giants who have refused to share their vaccine recipes and technology with the developing world even as the virus ravaged the globe.

"After two years, we all want this pandemic to be over, but politicians in rich countries are exploiting that fatigue to ignore the devastating impact of Covid-19 that continues to this day," said Anna Marriott, Oxfam's Health Policy Manager.

"While incredibly effective vaccines provided hope, rich countries derailed the global vaccine rollout with nationalism, greed, and self-interest," she added. "Suggestions that we are entering a 'post-Covid era' ignore the continuing deaths in primarily lower-income countries that could be prevented by vaccines."

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