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Global COVID-19 cases pass 5 million mark

How and where the virus spreads most

The number of COVID-19 cases confirmed worldwide has broken through the five million mark, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Some 5,011,000 cases were tallied as of Thursday morning – more than 1.5 million of them in the United States, which had more than 93,000 deaths of roughly 328,00 globally.

Agence France-Presse says Europe has been hit hardest, with more than 1,954,000 cases and almost 170,000 deaths.

The numbers are thought by many experts to represent only a fraction of the actual number of cases, with many countries testing only people with symptoms or the most serious infections, AFP notes.

Latin America overtook the U.S. and Europe over the past week as the place reporting the largest portion of new daily cases, the Reuters news agency points out.

That's a new phase in the virus' spread, which first peaked in China in February before large-scale outbreaks in Europe and the U.S., Reuters says.

Cases in Brazil are rising at a daily pace second only to the U.S., Reuters adds.

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