More than a million people have tested positive for the coronavirus infection.
And according to the tally from Johns Hopkins University, the death toll topped more than one million at just before 9pm UK time on Thursday.
The real figures are believed to be much higher because of testing shortages, differences in counting the dead and large numbers of mild cases that have gone unreported.
The United States accounts for about 236,000 of the confirmed cases – more than any other country, according to the tally.
As hot spots flared around the US in places like New Orleans and southern California, the nation’s capital, New York City, was the hardest hit of all, with bodies loaded on to refrigerated mortuary trucks outside overwhelmed hospitals.
Nearly 51,500 people have died from after testing positive for Covid-19.
The milestone came on the same day that figures showed more than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week in the latest indication that the pandemic is ravaging global economies.
The outbreak has left 10 million Americans unemployed in just two weeks.
European nations are facing extraordinary demand for intensive care beds and are putting up makeshift hospitals, while unsure whether they will find enough healthy medical staff to run them.
Spain reported a record 864 deaths in one day on Wednesday, for a total of more than 9,000, while France registered 509 deaths for more than 4,000 deaths in all.
In Italy, with the most deaths of any country at more than 13,000, mortuaries overflowed with bodies and coffins piled up in churches, although experts drew hope that the spread was already slowing in the country.
Scientists offered more evidence on Wednesday that the virus can be spread by seemingly healthy people who show no clear symptoms, leading the US government to issue new guidance warning that anyone exposed to the disease can be considered a potential carrier.
Many countries are modelling their response in part after China, which in January closed off an entire province, home to tens of millions of people, in what at the time was an unprecedented lockdown. Beijing says the measures have been a success, with nearly all new cases of the virus imported from abroad.
People in Wuhan, once the epicentre of the crisis, are starting to return to work. They are being tracked by a smartphone app that shows if they are symptom-free. The app is required to board a subway, check into a hotel or just enter the city.