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World Health Organization officials are holding a press conference Friday to update the public on the coronavirus outbreak, which has now infected more than half a million people worldwide.
The virus has now infected more than 553,244 people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, and killed at least 25,035 people. On Thursday, the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. passed that of both China and Italy, becoming the largest outbreak in the world.
WHO officials warned Wednesday against squandering a narrowing window of opportunity for countries and their citizens to limit the final death toll of the outbreak by taking aggressive actions to slow the virus’s spread.
“It’s a dangerous virus. We had been saying to the world, the window of opportunity is narrowing and the time to act was actually more than a month ago, two months ago,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing from the organization’s Geneva headquarters.
On Monday, WHO officials warned that the global outbreak is picking up pace, as global infection passed 350,000 and deaths topped 15,000.
“The pandemic is accelerating,” Tedros said Monday. “It took 67 days from the first reported case to reach 100,000 cases, 11 days for second 100,000 cases, and just four days for the third 100,000 cases.”