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China logs most deaths in a day as total surpasses 1,000

China reported its highest daily coronavirus death toll Tuesday, the 103 additional fatalities pushing the total past 1,100 and providing a somber warning that the epidemic represents “a very grave threat to the rest of the world.”

All but two of the 1,115 deaths attributed to the outbreak that emerged in December have been in mainland China. The virus is continuing to spread into other countries: Almost 500 of the 45,182 confirmed cases are outside China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week reported the 13th case in the U.S.

“The rise in mortality cases is concerning,” Ogbonnaya Omenka, an assistant professor and public health specialist at Butler University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, told USA TODAY. “In China, health workers are overstretched, and diagnostic processes are not keeping up with the cases.”

Omenka said testing and confirming cases takes longer because of a shortage of diagnostic tools. And supportive treatment is not available for many cases because of the shortage of facilities and health workers, he said.

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