The world has reached another grim milestone this week, surpassing half a billion known cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, although this figure is almost certainly underreported, according to a New York Times story.
This reporting gap may only widen as many countries including the US scale back official testing — a "dangerous" trend, Ali Mokdad, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington and former scientist at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Times.
"If you don't test, then you don’t know what variants you have," said Mokdad.
The number of new cases reported globally each day has been on the decline — the average over the past week has been about 1.1 million cases a day, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University — about 32 percent fewer than two weeks ago. In addition, deaths from the virus have also been declining, with about 3,800 a day on average over the past week, 23 percent fewer than two weeks ago, the Times reported.
Nevertheless, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyseus, director general of the World Health Organization, recently noted that the world remains in the acute phase of the pandemic, a sentiment echoed by many health experts, according to the Times.