A Wall Street Journal analysis of John Hopkins University data has revealed the coronavirus pandemic has already killed more people this year than in 2020.
According to the publication, 1.883 million individuals have died from the virus in 2021 - up from 1.88 million in 2020.
This year's Covid-19 deaths officially surpassed the 2020 total Thursday.
A worsening toll in South America and a rising epidemic in Asia, particularly India, are to blame for this year's rise in deaths. New viral variants, which scientists believe are more transmissible than older strains, are fueling outbreaks.
The findings highlight the disparity between countries that have vaccine access and others who are still unable to get doses. According to Our World In Data, roughly 2% of African received at least one dosage of the vaccine as of Wednesday. In Asia, about 7% of people had received at least one dose, whereas in North America, the ratio was closer to 40%.
The good news is that in recent weeks, the world seven-day average for officially reported new deaths has been moving downwards. The average is still at historic highs - having only just dropped below 10,000 deaths per day, a level not seen since late last year.
The Journal reported that during around two weeks starting in late January, countries around the world averaged more than 14,000 deaths each day.
The U.S. recently saw its daily fatalities average drop to the lowest level since the pandemic's early days, thanks to its vaccine campaign, and around 59% of the nation's almost 600,000 known Covid-19 deaths happened last year.
In the U.K., which also saw more deaths last year, the daily death toll has fallen to single digits, compared with an average that peaked above 1,200 in January.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden said that the U.S. would donate 500 million doses to countries in need. However, the European Union continues to oppose a U.S.-backed plan to waive intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccinations to help developing nations in producing the vaccine.