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The Latest: WHO expects rise in reported cases, deaths

Mar 24, 2020, 6:17 AM

doctor antibody testing...

Tube tests stands in a holder as media visit the Microbiology Laboratory of the University Hospital, CHUV, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lausanne, Switzerland, Monday, March 23, 2020. (Denis Balibouse/Keystone via AP, Pool)

(Denis Balibouse/Keystone via AP, Pool)

GENEVA — A spokeswoman for the World Health Organization says case counts and deaths globally from the new coronavirus are expected to increase “considerably” when global figures are published later Tuesday.

Dr. Margaret Harris, a WHO spokeswoman, said overnight reporting showed 85% of the new cases were being reported in Europe and the United States.

Speaking at a regular U.N. Geneva briefing, Harris also cited a “glimmer of hope” in hard-hit Italy after two days of slight declines in the number of new cases and deaths, while cautioning it’s “early days yet” — and the trend needed to be monitored.

Global figures compiled by WHO at 17:00 GMT Monday showed more than 334,000 total cases globally, Harris said, “but in fact the outbreak is accelerating very rapidly and the case numbers we received overnight will put that up considerably.”

She said she did not have the exact figures to hand.

The latest WHO Situation report issued late Monday cited 14,788 deaths worldwide, including 1,727 over the latest 24-hour span.

“Just to put it in proportion: It took two years in the worst Ebola outbreak we ever had, the West African outbreak, to reach 11,000 deaths,” Harris said. “So we are really seeing an enormous outbreak here.”

Harris said an increasing in the rollout of testing for new coronavirus infections could partly explain the surge in case counts.

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The Latest: WHO expects rise in reported cases, deaths