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2021 Has Already Seen More COVID-19 Deaths Than All Of 2020


Tom Hale

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

India COVID.

New Delhi, India, May 01, 2021: Health workers carry a body to the crematorium. Image credit: Exposure Visuals/

More people have died of COVID-19 already this year — less than 6 months in —than the whole of 2020. Although many countries appear to be on the recovery and the vaccine rollout is well underway in some parts of the world, this fact is a harsh reminder that the global pandemic is far from over.

There were 1.88 million COVID-19 deaths reported in 2020. According to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Wall Street Journal, the total COVID-19 death toll for 2021 passed this milestone on Thursday, June 10. As of today, June 11, the number of COVID-19 deaths stands at 3,775,180. 


Parts of North America and Europe saw a startling rise in cases at the start of 2021 due to new variants. While many of these countries are now starting to see declining deaths, partially thanks to their vaccine program, the pandemic has continued to rage in parts of Asia and Latin America. 

Many of the deaths seen in 2021 have come from India, which continues to have the highest 7-point moving average of new cases by a significant margin. After seeing a relatively steady first wave from July to November 2020, the country saw a dramatic spike in cases starting in late March 2021. In total, India has reported 29,274,823 cases and 363,079 deaths, so far. 

At the peak of the crisis in India, hospitals were running out of beds and desperate for oxygen. Mass funeral pyres were set up to cremate the influx of victims, while hundreds of corpses have been found floating in the river or buried in the sand of the banks of the Ganges, India's holiest river.

Much of this disastrous wave in India is being driven by the Delta variant, first identified in India, which has been estimated to be 60 percent more transmissible than other variants and more resistant to vaccines.


Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and a number of other South American nations are still suffering from a sky-high number of cases. This can also partially be explained by a troublesome variant (in this case, the Gamma variant, first identified in Brazil).

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