The United States has officially surpassed China and Italy in its number of COVID-19 cases, becoming the country with the most reported novel coronavirus cases in the world.
According to a running tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. had 82,404 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday evening. China had 81,782 and Italy had 80,589.
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The news comes as the global infection count passed the half-a-million threshold Thursday, according to the Johns Hopkins count.
U.S. deaths from the pandemic have now topped 1,000, in another grim milestone for a global outbreak that is taking lives and wreaking havoc on economies and established routines of life. Worldwide, the death toll climbed past 23,000, according to Johns Hopkins' running count.
Nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — almost five times the previous record set in 1982 — amid a widespread shutdown caused by the virus. The surge in weekly applications is a stunning reflection of the damage the viral outbreak is inflicting on the economy. Layoffs are sure to accelerate as the U.S. economy sinks into a recession with revenue collapsing at restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, gyms and airlines.
FILE - A group of young people wear protective masks as they walk near the Washington Monument on the National Mall on March 25, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Spanish and Italian medical workers are at a breaking point as the virus wages a bitter war of attrition against health care workers around the world. Italy reported 6,153 new coronavirus infections Thursday, pushing the country’s total to 80,539 cases, almost as many as China.