HealthDay News — The worldwide death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 5 million on Monday, and the more than 740,000 lives lost in the United States is the most of any nation, Johns Hopkins University data show.

Being a wealthy country provided little protection: The United States, Britain, Brazil, and European Union account for one-eighth of the world’s population, but nearly half of all reported COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began 22 months ago, the Associated Press reported.

Wealthier nations tend to have larger numbers of older people, cancer survivors, and nursing home residents, all of whom are vulnerable to COVID-19, Wafaa El-Sadr, M.D., director of ICAP, a global health center at Columbia University in New York City, told the AP, while poorer countries typically have larger shares of children, teens, and young adults, who are less likely to fall seriously ill from COVID-19.

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But within countries, poverty still played a role: In the United States, COVID-19 has taken a bigger toll on Black and Hispanic people, who are more likely than White people to live in poverty and have less access to health care.

COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death worldwide, behind only heart disease and stroke. The staggering statistic is almost certainly an undercount because of limited testing and people dying at home without medical attention, especially in poor parts of the world, the AP said.

Associated Press Article