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Virus infections near 500,000 as health systems buckle

BY , Mar 26, 2020 3:33 PM - REPORT AN ERROR

Medical staff of the Intensive Care Unit of the Casalpalocco COVID-19 Clinic in the outskirts of Rome tend to patients, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

Worldwide infections from the coronavirus are soaring toward half a million people as health care systems struggle to keep up.

American deaths passed the 1,000 mark.

Both Italy and the United States appeared set Thursday to pass the number of infections in China, where the outbreak was first reported.

The head of the World Health Organization is urging governments not to squander the opportunity to slow the spread of the virus while there is still time. The U.S. Senate passed a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems, and the House is expected to vote on it Friday.

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