While the news the world has clocked up more than 10 million coronavirus cases, and half-a-million deaths, in just six months is alarming, the prediction these figures may double before the start of September is far scarier.
Australia's success in containing the spread of the virus, albeit with outbreaks such as the one in Victoria, has partly blinded us to the fact the global pandemic is just starting to hit its stride.
It took many months for the first 1 million cases to be identified following the infection of "patient zero" in China midway through last December. The second million took a far shorter time.
It took just 45 days to jump from 2 million to 6 million, and 28 days after that to reach Monday's 10 million.
All these figures should, of course, be taken as indicative only. They represent known cases verified by a positive test result. The true number of cases could be many times higher than the official figure.
Testing regimes in developing nations range from the rudimentary to the almost non-existent. Even medical authorities in the US and the UK are hard pressed to put an accurate figure on the real number of cases.
It is the same story with the "official" death toll of 500,000. The number of people whose lives have been claimed could be many multiples of that.
Experts now believe unless this state of exponential growth, which was beginning to occur in Australia before the government put lockdowns in place in March, is controlled, pandemic cases will continue to double at an alarming rate.
That seems inevitable given COVID-19, which spread like wildfire in nations with well-resourced public health systems, has established a firm foothold in the developing world.
There are more than 350,000 confirmed cases in Africa. The countries which, on paper, have been affected most significantly include Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria.
These just happen to be among the most developed nations on the continent, and the ones best placed to test.
India, which recently came out of what appears to have been a largely ineffective lockdown, has more than 500,000 confirmed cases; the fourth most worldwide.
The richest nations, including Australia, should be doing more to reach out to the poorest.
Australia's remarkable success in containing the spread of the infection, and minimising the death rate in comparison to other nations, is very much a local phenomenon.
It is almost impossible to accurately compare mortality rates between developed and developing countries because of the lack of accurate data.
Who is to say, for example, what the true mortality rate is in India, Indonesia, or Brazil where the existence of crowded slums housing millions of people means many outbreaks, and the consequent deaths, can easily go unreported?
This is going to have much more serious and enduring consequences for the world's poorest people than anybody else. By the time this is over it will be impossible to say with a high degree of accuracy how many billions suffered, and how many millions died.
Humanity dictates that rather than squabbling amongst themselves, treating COVID-19 as a series of national crises, and in the case of the US defunding WHO, the richest nations - which include Australia - should be doing more to reach out to the poorest. It is also a matter of self-preservation. While the virus exists, even in the most isolated and impoverished country, it is a threat to all.
If our leaders won't do the right thing on the basis of compassion then they should act in the name of self-interest at least.