WASHINGTON – The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide surpassed the 60 million mark Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

The US-based university has recorded 60,186,902 infections and 1,417,319 deaths since the virus first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

The US continues to be hardest hit by the disease, with more than 261,000 deaths and over 12.7 million cases, followed by India with 9.2 million cases, Brazil with 6.1 million and France with 2.2 million. 

Some 38.4 million people worldwide have recovered from the disease. 

More than 100 vaccines against the coronavirus are at different stages of development. US drug maker Pfizer and German biotech company BioNTech last week said their coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective, upgrading an earlier estimate of 90%.

Their announcement came days after US drug company Moderna said its own shot was 94.5% effective.

With current vaccine developments, the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel is growing brighter, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday.

“There is now real hope that vaccines, in combination with other tried and tested public health measures, will help to end the pandemic,” WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said at a press webinar. 

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