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Global COVID-19 toll reaches 300,000 as confirmed cases hit 4.5 million

Numbers said by experts to vastly underestimate the true loss caused by the pandemic; US has world’s worst outbreak by far

Robert Salerno, funeral director with McLaughlin & Sons funeral home in Brooklyn, wears a mask as he reviews a gravesite, shortly after a burial without family present because of coronavirus restrictions, May 13, 2020, at Holy Cross Cemetery in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Robert Salerno, funeral director with McLaughlin & Sons funeral home in Brooklyn, wears a mask as he reviews a gravesite, shortly after a burial without family present because of coronavirus restrictions, May 13, 2020, at Holy Cross Cemetery in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Confirmed global deaths from the novel coronavirus reached 300,000 on Thursday, some five months after it emerged in Wuhan, China late last year, according to tallies by Worldometer and Johns Hopkins University.

The number of cases hit 4.5 million, of whom some 1.7 million have recovered.

Experts say the actual numbers are likely far higher, since many countries are suspected of hiding or not being able to truly determine the full scale of their outbreaks, and are testing only the most serious cases.

The United States has the largest coronavirus outbreak in the world by far, with over 1.4 million infections and more than 86,000 deaths.

The next highest in the number of deaths are the United Kingdom with more than 33,000, Italy with more than 31,000, and France and Spain with a little over 27,000 each.

But while most European nations have started controlling the spread of the virus and many countries have begun reopening, the fastest growing outbreaks are centered in Russia and Brazil.

Russia recorded almost 10,000 new infections Thursday with a total of 252,245, ranking third in the world after the US and Spain. Russia’s reported death toll is approximately 2,300, raising widespread suspicions that the country is concealing the true scale of its outbreak.

Brazil is also quickly becoming one of the countries worst affected by the pandemic, with almost 200,000 confirmed cases — more than 8,500 of them on Thursday — and more than 13,000 deaths.

The country with the highest number of deaths compared to its population is Belgium with 77 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Spain with 58, Italy with 52, Britain with 50 and France with 42.

Israel, meanwhile, has significantly curbed its outbreak, with Thursday marking a week of under 50 new daily cases. The Jewish state has recorded a total of 16,579 cases and 265 deaths.

In the past 24 hours, South Sudan has recorded its first infection.

Europe has a total of 162,654 deaths from 1,825,812 cases, according to a tally by the AFP news agency.

According to that count, the United States and Canada have 90,539 deaths and 1,475,279 cases, Latin America and the Caribbean have 24,405 deaths and 429,138 cases, Asia has 11,455 deaths and 327,508 cases, the Middle East has 7,908 deaths and 254,853 cases, Africa has 2,551 deaths from 74,877 cases, and Oceania 126 deaths from 8,332 cases.

AFP contributed to this report.

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