Daily US Times: At a special meeting of WHO leaders, the World Health Organization said one in 10 people worldwide may have contracted Covid-19.
A top official of the organization said the estimate meant “the vast majority of the world remains at risk.”
Just over 35m people have been confirmed as being infected with coronavirus across the world – the WHO’s estimate puts the true figure at closer to 800m.
Experts and researchers have long said the real number of cases would exceed those confirmed.
The WHO is meeting at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss the global response to the current pandemic.
Ten months on, the coronavirus crisis shows no sign of ending. Several countries are seeing second waves of Covid-19 infections after easing restrictions and in some cases numbers are even higher.
The estimate that 10% of the world’s population has contracted the virus came from the executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme Mike Ryan.
He said: “This varies depending on country, it varies from urban to rural, it varies between different groups.”
“But what it does mean is that the vast majority of the world remains at risk. We know the pandemic will continue to evolve but we also know we have the tools that work to suppress transmission and save lives right now and they are at our disposal.”
Calling for firm leadership and solidarity from countries, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there had been marked differences in the number of cases around the world.
He said: “Although all countries have been affected by this virus, we must remember that this is an uneven pandemic. Ten countries account for 70% of all reported cases and deaths and just three countries account for half.”
According to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, more than one million people have died from the virus worldwide. After the US, India and Brazil have seen the most infections, the data shows.