The number of confirmed coronavirus infections worldwide topped 600,000 on Saturday as new cases stacked up quickly in Europe and the United States and officials dug in for a long fight against the pandemic.
The latest landmark came only two days after the world passed half a million infections, according to a tally by John Hopkins University, showing that much work remains to be done to slow the spread of the virus. It showed more than 607,000 cases and over 28,000 deaths.
More than 130,000 people have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins.
While the U.S. now leads the world in reported infections — with more than 104,000 cases — five countries exceed its roughly 1,700 deaths: Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and lead to death.
Among other developments overnight and this morning:
- Abbott Laboratories said on Friday it won U.S. marketing approval for a diagnostic test for the coronavirus that can deliver results to patients within minutes and be used in physicians offices and urgent care clinics, as well as hospitals.
- Italy recorded 900 deaths on Friday, the largest single-day death toll since the coronavirus outbreak began ravaging the country.
- As India and other South Asian nations brace for the spread of the coronavirus, they face another battle: misinformation. Social media are rife with bogus remedies, tales of magic cures and hazardous medical advice.
- Four passengers have died aboard a cruise ship now anchored off the coast of Panama and two people aboard the ship have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
- Authorities are still hoping to fly 800 cruise ship passengers from Australia to Germany but a sharp overnight rise in cases of the new coronavirus on board the Artania brought severe complications for the mission.
- As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the Middle East, cherished traditions are coming to an abrupt halt: No more massive weddings and celebrations. No more evenings spent mostly by men in coffee shops across the region.
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