The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the global Covid-19 death toll is "very likely" to double and cross the 2 million-mark if concerted efforts are not take to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The WHO said the 2 million-mark is a likely figure for overall Covid-19 deaths before a successful vaccine is developed and its use becomes widespread. It said this figure could increase further if concerted actions are not taken.
"Unless we do it all, (2 million deaths)... is not only imaginable, but sadly very likely," Mike Ryan, head of WHO's emergencies program was quoted as saying by Reuters at a press briefing.
"We are not out of the woods anywhere," Ryan said.
He said young people should not be blamed for a recent increase in infections despite growing concerns that they are driving its spread after restrictions and lockdowns were eased around the world.
"I really hope we don't get into finger wagging: it's all because of the youth," said Ryan. "The last thing a young person needs is an old person pontificating and wagging the finger."
Rather, indoor gatherings of people of all ages were driving the epidemic, he said.
More than nine months after the coronavirus pandemic began in Wuhan, China last December, the global Covid-19 caseload has crossed 32 million while the overall Covid-19 death toll is nearing the 1 million-mark.
Over the past several months, economies across the world have been devastated as activities came to a standstill due to strict lockdowns imposed by governments to contain the spread of the deadly viral infection.
Apart from this, the coronavirus pandemic has put tremendous pressure on global health infrastructure and societies world over.
Asked about how high could the Coivd-19 death toll go, Michael Ryan said, "One million is a terrible number and we need to reflect on that before we start considering a second million."
"Are we prepared collectively to do what it takes to avoid that number? If we don't take those actions...yes, we will be looking at that number (2 million) and sadly much higher," Ryan was quoted as saying by AFP.
(With inputs from agencies.)
ALSO WATCH | Meet the unsung heroes who bury Covid victims