The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide has surpassed 5 million, proving the global spread of the pandemic is far from over.
The milestone was reached as Latin American countries overtook the United States and Europe in reporting record daily increases in infections over the past week. Russia and parts of the Middle East and South Asia have also contributed to the steady climb in overall cases.
As Wednesday gave way to Thursday, government data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed 5,000,038 people have now tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
The number of deaths around the world also climbed to 328,172 by 11 p.m. PST.
Both numbers, but particularly the death toll, are believed to be far higher as testing capacity is scattered and many countries do not include fatalities outside of hospitals.
Some local governments, including in Russia, have also not counted deaths if they’re attributed to other causes like heart attacks, even if victims are coronavirus patients.
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The virus has now infected more people in six months than the number of severe flu cases in a full year, which the World Health Organization estimates is around 3 million to 5 million globally.
The most recent million cases were added in just 11 days after the worldwide total hit 4 million, which itself came less than two weeks after the three-million mark.
That not only suggests the pandemic is continuing at the steady pace seen over the past month, but that the number of infections may actually be accelerating.
The World Health Organization said Wednesday that over 106,000 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours — the most in a single day since the outbreak began.
Despite having the most confirmed infections in the world at over 1.5 million, the U.S. has seen its daily case counts start to fall over the past week, after spiking at over 27,000 on May 14.
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