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Global coronavirus death toll surpasses 300,000

Global coronavirus death toll surpasses 300,000
© UPI Photo

The number of confirmed global deaths from the novel coronavirus on Wednesday surpassed 300,000, as health experts continue to warn that reopening parts of the world too quickly could cause a second wave of infections. 

More than 4.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide and roughly 300,070 people have died from it, according to a Johns Hopkins University database. Health experts say that the death toll could be higher given a lack of transparency from China and other countries. 

In the U.S., more than 1.4 million individuals have contracted the virus and nearly 85,000 people have died from it. The United Kingdom, Spain and Italy have all confirmed more than 200,000 cases of the virus and more than 25,000 deaths caused by it. The death toll in the U.K. sits at about 33,600, making it the highest reported death count outside of the U.S. 

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Meanwhile, France has reported more than 178,000 confirmed cases of the virus and roughly 27,000 deaths. 

Brazil has reported the highest number of cases of COVID-19 in South America. As of Wednesday, the country had confirmed about 196,000 cases of the virus and more than 13,500 deaths. The government said on Tuesday that 881 people had died from the disease in a 24-hour period, a new high in the country. 

The novel coronavirus is believed to have originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December, before rapidly spreading throughout the world and causing numerous countries to impose quarantine measures. 

The closures have severely impacted many parts of the economy. The United Nations released a report on Wednesday projecting that global economy would shrink by 3.2 percent because of the pandemic. In the U.S., roughly 36 million people have filed for unemployment since the emergence of the virus. 

President TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE and others have begun aggressively pushing for states to reopen in a bid to help businesses. But health experts caution that a reopening must coincide with a steady drop in confirmed cases of the virus and widespread testing availability. 

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Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci: COVID-19 vaccine could lead to 'breakthrough' in HIV fight GOP lawmaker calls for Wuhan probe to 'prevent the next pandemic' Trump bemoans lack of vaccine credit amid mask news MORE, the nation's top infectious disease expert, testified during a Senate Health Committee virtual hearing this week that states could face "really serious" consequences if they open prematurely.

“My concern is that if some areas, city, states or what have you, jump over those various checkpoints and prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently, my concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks,” Fauci said. 

Outside of the U.S., officials in Wuhan earlier this week ordered every resident to receive a coronavirus test. The directive came after city health officials confirmed the first cluster of COVID-19 cases since it lifted lockdowns in early April.