US briefly surpasses Italy for most coronavirus deaths worldwide

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus briefly overtook Italy's for the highest in the world Saturday, according to the running tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The United States eclipsed Italy in reporting more than 18,850 dead around midday. A short time afterward, Italy reported a total of nearly 19,500.

Deaths have been declining in recent days in Italy while rising rapidly in the U.S.

The Johns Hopkins figures are based on data supplied by government health authorities around the world. The true numbers of dead and infected are believed to be much higher because of testing shortages, different counting practices and concealment by some governments.

This is a breaking news story. More details as they become available.