In a grim update, an official with the World Health Organization warned that global deaths related to the novel coronavirus are expected to surpass 100,000 a week “very soon.”
For context, the world saw some 93,000 deaths last week, Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergency expert who made the warning on Monday during the organization’s executive board meeting, said. The Americas region alone accounts for an estimated 47% of current deaths, he added, according to Reuters.
Overall, the novel disease has claimed more than 2 million lives across the globe to date.
In the United States, the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus is inching closer to 400,000 by the minute, with deaths at 399,500 as of this writing, according to estimates from Johns Hopkins University. Cases in the country, meanwhile, have surpassed 24 million.
“Currently our epidemiological situation is dynamic and uneven, it’s further complicated by variants,” Ryan said on Monday, making a reference to mutations of the virus that are said to be even more transmissible than COVID-19, such as one first identified in the United Kingdom late last year.
Another coronavirus variant in California is thought to be behind a recent surge in cases in the Los Angeles region, with the strain, identified as CAL.20C by Cedars-Sinai researchers, consisting of five different mutations.
The strain, which is said to be different from the variant discovered in the U.K., has been identified in more than one-third of LA COVID-19 patients, researchers said this week.
Fox News’ Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.