Global coronavirus infections have surpassed 2.5 million, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, with the number of infections in the US nearing 825,000.
The worldwide figure includes almost 177,000 deaths, two-thirds of which have been reported in Europe. The US death toll grew to 44,845 after 2,751 died in the past 24 hours – a near-record amount in a single day.
The US increase was just shy of a peak of 2,806 deaths in a single day on April 15.
It took around 75 days for the world’s first 500,000 cases to be reported, and just six days for the most recent half million to be registered. The first 41 cases were confirmed on January 10, just over three months ago, and new cases have accelerated to over 70,000 a day in April.
It compares to 3 million to 5 million cases of severe illness caused annually by seasonal influenza, according to World Health Organisation estimates.
While experts say actual cases of the new coronavirus are likely higher than current reports, the number still falls far short of the Spanish flu, which began in 1918 and infected an estimated 500 million people.
Despite the growing number of cases in the current pandemic, there are signs that the spread of the coronavirus is slowing with many countries exercising lockdown measures
Currently, many countries continue to experience a shortage of testing resources, artificially lowering case numbers and excluding infections in nursing homes.