- Reported COVID-19 cases around the world surpassed 1 million on Thursday, April 2
- The COVID-19 worldwide death toll also passed 50,000, according to Johns Hopkins University
- That is double the total in a week as the virus spreads across the globe
- Italy had the most deaths, more than 13,900, followed by Spain
- The United States had the most confirmed cases of any country, more than 240,000
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Reported COVID-19 cases around the world surpassed 1 million on Thursday, April 2. doubling in a week as the virus spreads across Europe and North America and establishes a toehold in Africa.
Just before global cases surprised the 1 million mark, the COVID-19 worldwide death toll passed 50,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
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Italy had the most deaths, more than 13,900, followed by Spain. The United States had the most confirmed cases of any country, more than 240,000, the data showed.
In Italy, which hit a daily peak of 6,557 new cases on March 21, 2020, and accounts for around 28% of all global fatalities, the death toll climbed to 13,915 on Thursday, April 2.
But it was the fourth consecutive day in which the number of new cases stayed within a range of 4,050-4,782, seeming to confirm government hopes that the epidemic had hit a plateau.
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The world knew almost nothing about the virus in December 2019, when reports of a new coronavirus started to surface in Wuhan, China.
Since then, it has spread to nearly every country in the world, disrupting daily life for millions under lockdown measures meant to curb the virus' rapid spread.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing at the Geneva headquarters Wednesday, April 1, the number of cases grew exponentially.
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"Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new cases, reaching almost every country, territory and area," he said.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 500,000 a week ago, according to Hopkins. Since then, the US surpassed China as the country with the most reported cases of COVID-19 in the world.
However, economists and US officials have said Chinese officials are likely underreporting the number of infections.
Infections in the US now account for more than 20% of infections globally.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday, April 2 that the virus had infected more than 92,000 people in New York state alone,
White House officials estimate that between 100,000 to 240,000 people in the US will die from COVID-19 with a peak in fatalities over the next two or so weeks.
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The virus threatens to spread widely across Africa, where a number of countries have seen hundreds of positive tests, according to Hopkins.
The virus has infected more than 1,300 people in South Africa, according to Hopkins data, and more than 900 in Algeria.
The WHO has repeatedly emphasized the potentially devastating impact of epidemics across Africa, where many health systems are ill-equipped to care for critical patients.
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