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Virus death toll in Italy draws nearer to China

Associated Press

Barring a miracle, Italy will surpass China in the number of coronavirus deaths in just one more day.

On Wednesday, Italy saw a record new high in the numbers of infections and deaths reported, adding more than 4,200 new cases for a total of 35,713 infections. Another 475 people died, bringing Italy’s death toll to 2,978.

A woman wears a protective mask as she rides in a tram, in Rome, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms.

China, where the COVID-19 pandemic first emerged late last year, has seen 3,241 deaths, most in the hard-hit central province of Hubei.

Italy has an older population than China’s, but only has 60 million people to China’s 1.4 billion people. Medical experts say the new virus is killing people over 65 at a much higher rate than other age groups.

The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 207,000 people and killed more than 8,200. The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems. More than 82,000 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.