More than 4 million people have died from COVID-19, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.
The grim milestone comes less than three months after the worldwide death toll hit 3 million in April, as countries race to vaccinate enough people to stop faster-spreading variants.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus criticized the vaccine response from richer countries, who prepurchased many shots and have vaccinated significant portions of their populations, CBS News reported.
“Vaccine nationalism, where a handful of nations have taken the lion’s share, is morally indefensible,” Tedros said. “At this stage in the pandemic, the fact that millions of health care workers have still not been vaccinated is abhorrent.”
The worldwide death toll is now greater than the population of Los Angeles, the second-most populous city in the U.S. That count is widely considered a low estimate due to lack of reporting in many countries.
Because of high vaccination rates in wealthy nations, particularly the United States, the global daily death count has dropped below 8,000 per day after topping 18,000 in January 2021, according to The Associated Press.
However, global health experts predict the death rate will increase due to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant, which is now the dominant strain in the U.S.
The U.S. has recorded more COVID19 deaths than any other nation, with more than 600,000. Brazil has tallied the second-most at around 530,000.
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