A Sri Lankan Christian family grieves as municipal cemetery workers carry the body of their family member who died of COVID-19 for cremation in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020.

A Sri Lankan Christian family grieves as municipal cemetery workers carry the body of their family member who died of COVID-19 for cremation in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020.

Eranga Jayawardena / AP

The global death toll from COVID-19 topped 2 million Friday as vaccines developed at breakneck speed are being rolled out around the world in an all-out campaign to vanquish the threat.

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The milestone was reached just over a year after the coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Mortuary workers take off their protective clothing at the entrance of a building decorated with a Christmas tree, after removing the body of person who is suspected of dying from COVID-19 in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020.

Mortuary workers take off their protective clothing at the entrance of a building decorated with a Christmas tree, after removing the body of person who is suspected of dying from COVID-19 in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020.

Emilio Morenatti / AP

The number of dead, compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the population of Brussels, Mecca, Minsk or Vienna. It is roughly equivalent to the population of the Cleveland metropolitan area or the entire state of Nebraska.

A mortuary worker transports the body of a COVID-19 victim on a stretcher at the morgue of a hospital in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. After successfully bringing the daily death count down from over 900 in March to single digits by July, Spain has seen a steady uptick that brought deaths back to over 200 a day this month. With that relapse, the body collectors have returned to making the rounds of hospitals, homes and care facilities.

A mortuary worker transports the body of a COVID-19 victim on a stretcher at the morgue of a hospital in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. After successfully bringing the daily death count down from over 900 in March to single digits by July, Spain has seen a steady uptick that brought deaths back to over 200 a day this month. With that relapse, the body collectors have returned to making the rounds of hospitals, homes and care facilities.

Emilio Morenatti / AP

While the count is based on figures supplied by government agencies around the world, the real toll is believed to be significantly higher, in part because of inadequate testing and the many fatalities that were inaccurately attributed to other causes, especially early in the outbreak.

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It took eight months to hit 1 million dead. It took less than four months after that to reach the next million.

A patient infected with COVID-19 is treated in one of the intensive care units (ICU) at the Severo Ochoa hospital in Leganes, outskirts of Madrid, Spain, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. Spain has become the first western Europe to accumulate more than 1 million confirmed infections as the country of 47 million inhabitants struggles to contain a resurgence of the coronavirus.

A patient infected with COVID-19 is treated in one of the intensive care units (ICU) at the Severo Ochoa hospital in Leganes, outskirts of Madrid, Spain, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. Spain has become the first western Europe to accumulate more than 1 million confirmed infections as the country of 47 million inhabitants struggles to contain a resurgence of the coronavirus.

Bernat Armangue / AP

“Behind this terrible number are names and faces — the smile that will now only be a memory, the seat forever empty at the dinner table, the room that echoes with the silence of a loved one,” said U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres. He said the toll “has been made worse by the absence of a global coordinated effort.”

Corazona Pena's body lies wrapped in plastic by a Peruvian COVID-19 specialized government team in Pucallpa, in Peru's Ucayali region, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. The global death toll from COVID-19 has topped 2 million. It took eight months to hit 1 million lives lost. It took less than four months after that to reach the next million.

Corazona Pena's body lies wrapped in plastic by a Peruvian COVID-19 specialized government team in Pucallpa, in Peru's Ucayali region, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. The global death toll from COVID-19 has topped 2 million. It took eight months to hit 1 million lives lost. It took less than four months after that to reach the next million.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

“Science has succeeded, but solidarity has failed,” he said.

In wealthy countries including the United States, Britain, Israel, Canada and Germany, millions of citizens have already been given some measure of protection with at least one dose of vaccine developed with revolutionary speed and quickly authorized for use.

Cemetery workers carry the remains of 89-year-old Abilio Ribeiro, who died of the new coronavirus, to bury at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, Amazonas state, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. Manaus declared on Jan. 5 a 180-day state of emergency due to a surge of new cases of coronavirus.

Cemetery workers carry the remains of 89-year-old Abilio Ribeiro, who died of the new coronavirus, to bury at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, Amazonas state, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. Manaus declared on Jan. 5 a 180-day state of emergency due to a surge of new cases of coronavirus.

Edmar Barros / AP

But elsewhere, immunization drives have barely gotten off the ground. Many experts are predicting another year of loss and hardship in places like Iran, India, Mexico and Brazil, which together account for about a quarter of the world’s deaths.

A nurse rests her knees on the floor as she looks at a computer screen during the day shift at the COVID-19 ICU of the La Timone hospital in Marseille, southern France, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020.

A nurse rests her knees on the floor as she looks at a computer screen during the day shift at the COVID-19 ICU of the La Timone hospital in Marseille, southern France, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020.

Daniel Cole / AP

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