COVID-19 has infected more than 35 million people and caused over one million deaths across the globe, according to the latest data released by The New York Times on Oct. 5, 2020. Though the outbreak has slowed in some parts of the United States and abroad, overall the virus is spreading faster than ever, currently averaging 200,000 new cases per day worldwide. And if those numbers don't shock you, the latest estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) surely will.
In a special meeting of the WHO's 34-member executive board, Michael Ryan, MPH, head of the organization's emergencies division, said that "best estimates" show that about one in 10 people worldwide may have been infected by the coronavirus, the Associated Press reported on Monday. That's more than 20 times the number of confirmed cases. And while Ryan said that things could have been even worse, he warned of a potentially disastrous situation in the near future if COVID-19 isn't contained.
"Many deaths have been averted and many more lives can be protected," Ryan said in his address to WHO board members. However, the numbers indicate that "the vast majority of the world remains at risk."
Based on the current world population of about 7.6 million people, Ryan's one in 10 estimate works out to be more than 760 million people who've had COVID-19 at some point during the pandemic—a far cry from the 35 million confirmed cases reported by The New York Times, Johns Hopkins University, and the WHO itself. What's that mean for the future? Nothing super encouraging, according to Ryan.
"[We're] now heading into a difficult period," he said on Monday. "The disease continues to spread. It is on the rise in many parts of the world."
Ryan's projection appears to be in line with what we're seeing play out in the U.S., as cases are once again on the uptick in many parts of the country. Not to mention the fact that, along with several of his staffers, the president himself was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Friday. And for more on the president's health status, This Is What Dr. Fauci Thinks About Trump's COVID Treatment.