The coronavirus has infected around 10% of the world’s population, Dr Mike Ryan, director of the World Health Organization’s health emergency program, said on Monday.
It varies from region to region, Ryan said at a meeting of the WHO Executive Board.
“Our current best estimates tell us that around 10% of the world’s population may have been infected with this virus,” Ryan said.
“It varies by country, it varies from urban to rural, it varies between different groups. But that means the vast majority of the world remains at risk, ”added Ryan.
The global death toll of over 1 million fatalities is also an undercount, according to WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Today, almost 35 million cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to WHO, and more than 1 million people are reported to have lost their lives. The real number is certainly higher,” he said from Geneva. “Numbers can blind us to the reality that every single life lost is someone who loved and was loved by others.”
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases in the United States are also undercounted by at least 90%.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said back in March she felt the bloc had “underestimated” the virus, while WHO director Daniel Lopez Acuña told El Pais newspaper the same in May.
Amid rising cases across Europe, officials in both France and the UK recently estimated that back in March, there were upwards of 100,000 cases per day.
Also, the British government revealed this weekend a technical glitch in its database system had missed off 16,000 positive results of the coronavirus, meaning the daily tally on Sunday was then adjusted to an artificially high 22,961.
Russia has recorded the highest number of cases in Europe, with more than 1.2 million infections. This is followed by France on more than 600,000 and the UK on 500,000.
With a global population of around 7.7 billion people, Ryan’s estimate would mean that around 770 million have been infected but most have not been diagnosed or counted.