Confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide now 20 million

The confirmed number of coronavirus cases in the world has reached 20 million, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Health officials believe the actual number is much higher, given testing limitations and the fact that as many as 40% of all those who are infected have no symptoms. 

The U.S., India and Brazil have together accounted for nearly two-thirds of all cases since the world hit 15 million on July 22. More than 5 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the United States, a grim milestone that comes just days after the global death count from the novel coronavirus reached over 700,000. 

The United States' confirmed case count far surpasses that of any other country. Brazil is the country with the second-highest number of confirmed cases with over 3 million, followed by India with over 2.1 million and Russia with more than 886,000, according to Aug. 9 data from Johns Hopkins.

Schools are reopening as new infections run at about 54,000 a day in the U.S. While that’s down from a peak of well over 70,000 in the second half of July, cases are rising in nearly 20 states, and deaths are climbing in most of them.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted the U.S. could see an increase of 11,000 COVID-19 deaths per week by Aug. 22, based on data gathered from forecasts from 34 different modeling groups. 

The CDC forecasts that total U.S. deaths from COVID-19 could reach 173,000 by Aug. 22 — with a possible range between 168,000 to 182,000.

New cases began surging in June after many U.S. states reopened their economies, resulting in some governors pausing reopening plans or closing certain businesses once again.

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange) — also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19. (NIH)

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