By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – More than 224,000 people around the world have lost their lives from the novel coronavirus as of Wednesday, according to data compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University.

The university’s study found 224,562 fatalities caused by COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, as well as more than 3.16 million infections.

The virus has spread to 185 countries or regions since it was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

The US continues to be the country hardest-hit by the pandemic, with the highest number of infections and deaths worldwide.

In all, the US has more than 1 million confirmed cases, and nearly 60,000 deaths. Spain, Italy and France continue to follow with the world’s highest number of infections. In terms of deaths, Italy follows the US, followed by the UK and Spain, according to the Johns Hopkins study.

Worldwide an excess of 957,000 patients have recovered after being confirmed to have contracted the virus.

The figures, however, are likely below actual counts as widespread testing continues to be a problem in many parts of the world, including the US, and some governments have worked to conceal the true extent of their coronavirus outbreaks.

Most who contract the virus exhibit only moderate symptoms for a couple of weeks, but the virus is particularly deadly for patients with pre-existing conditions including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and asthma.

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