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Global death toll from COVID-19 tops 2M amid vaccine rollout

Last Updated Jan 16, 2021 at 8:56 am PST

Medical workers and patients are seen in the treatment hall of a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients in the Krylatskoye Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

The global death toll from COVID-19 has now topped 2 million -- just over a year after the virus first surfaced

The global death toll from COIVID-19 topped 2 million Friday as vaccines developed at breakneck speed are being rolled out around the world in an all-out campaign to vanquish the threat.

The milestone was reached just over a year after the coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The number of dead, compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the population of Brussels, Mecca, Minsk or Vienna.

While the count is based on figures supplied by government agencies around the world, the real toll is believed to be significantly higher, in part because of inadequate testing and the many fatalities that were inaccurately attributed to other causes, especially early in the outbreak.

Nurse Ginevra Fattori gets ready before entering the sub-intensive care unit of the San Filippo Neri hospital in Rome, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

It took eight months to hit 1 million dead. It took less than four months after that to reach the next million.

“Behind this terrible number are names and faces — the smile that will now only be a memory, the seat forever empty at the dinner table, the room that echoes with the silence of a loved one,” said U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres. He said the toll “has been made worse by the absence of a global co-ordinated effort.”

“Science has succeeded, but solidarity has failed,” he said.

A droplet falls from a syringe after a health care worker was injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, R.I., Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/David Goldman)