Latin America is one of the worst-hit regions and home to half the 10 nations reporting the highest number of confirmed cases as the recent explosion in infections has strained hospitals and health care workers.
Argentina has become the fifth country with more than 1 million coronavirus cases, its Health Ministry confirmed on Monday, making it the smallest nation by far to reach the grim milestone after infections accelerated in recent weeks.
There were 1,002,662 confirmed cases of the virus in the South American country by Monday night, the ministry said in a statement. In the past 24 hours, there were 12,982 new cases reported and 451 deaths, it said.
Three other nations in Latin America are expected to reach 1 million cases in the coming weeks: Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Brazil was the first country in South America to pass the 1 million mark of cases in June. The country’s number of infections has since grown to over 5.2 million, behind only the U.S. with 8.2 million and India with 7.6 million cases.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the planet has surpassed 40 million this week, but experts say that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the true impact of the pandemic that has upended life and work around the world. The milestone was hit Monday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University, which collates reports from around the world.
The actual worldwide tally of COVID-19 cases is likely to be far higher, as testing has been uneven or limited, many people have had no symptoms and some governments have concealed the true number of cases. To date, more than 1.1 million confirmed virus deaths have been reported, although experts also believe that number is an undercount.