CHANGES FIGURES, ADDS TRUMP'S REMARKS
By Servet Gunerigok
WASHINGTON (AA) – The United States now has the highest number of novel coronavirus cases in the world, surpassing China and Italy, according to data published Thursday by Johns Hopkins University.
The data shows the U.S. currently has 85,653 confirmed cases, followed by China with 81,782 and Italy with 80,589.
The worldwide total has surpassed 531,000, according to the data.
That includes over 24,000 deaths and more than 122,000 recoveries, the Baltimore, Maryland-based education institution’s running tally indicated.
Asked about the figures for the U.S. at a White House press briefing, President Donald Trump said he believed they soared with increased testing.
"I think it's a tribute to our testing. We're testing tremendous numbers of people," he told reporters. "We're doing tremendous testing. And I'm sure you're not able to tell what China is testing and not testing. I think that's a little hard."
As for the death toll in the country, the data shows 1,290 people have died since the first death was reported in Washington state on March 11. The worst tally transpired in New York state, with 395 deaths, 365 of which are in New York City.
Governments have struggled to curb the spread of the virus and have taken various measures to restrict public gatherings as people who may not be displaying symptoms but are infected could be carriers.
While the number of deaths is small compared to recoveries, the virus can still cause major health problems and be fatal to the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions including hypertension, diabetes and asthma.
Despite the rising number of cases, however, most people who contract the virus suffer only mild symptoms before making a recovery.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China in December, the virus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 175 countries and regions.