Officials at the World Health Organization announced Monday that they now estimate nearly 1 in 10 people in the world have been infected by coronavirus.
That would put the global total at 760 million cases, a number 20 times larger than the roughly 35 million total cases confirmed by the WHO and Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Michael Ryan, the head of emergencies at the health organization, said that while numbers vary between locations and demographics, the "vast majority of the world remains at risk."
Other officials emphasized the importance of contact-tracking and tracking by health officials.
"What we have learned in every region of the world is that with strong leadership, clear and comprehensive strategies, consistent communication, and engaged, empowered and enabled population, it's never too late," WHO Director-General Tedros A. Ghebreyesus said. "Every situation can be turned around — and hard-won gains can be easily lost."
If the new estimate is true, the corresponding mortality rate would be far lower than it is currently believed to be.