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Coronavirus LIVE Updates: Trump Says US on Way to ‘Very Big Comeback’ Even as Cases Cross 2 Million; Latin America Passes 70,000 Deaths

In Texas and North Carolina, there are currently more COVID-19 patients hospitalized than there were a month ago. With half a million tests performed per day, the country is the world champion in screening per capita. According to an average of 11 epidemiological models conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts, the number of COVID-19 deaths in the US is expected to approach 130,000 by July 4, Independence Day.

The coronavirus pandemic advanced steadily Wednesday through Latin America, where the death toll passed the grim milestone of 70,000 fatalities even as Europe planned to reopen its external borders to foreigners in July.

The Americas — North and South — remained the epicenter of the global health crisis, accounting for almost half the 412,926 deaths and 7.3 million infections worldwide, based on an AFP tally of figures released by national health ministries by 1900 GMT.

Brazil accounts for almost 40,000 — or more than half — of Latin America’s total deaths, registering 1,274 fatalities in the last 24 hours. Even as the virus continued to cut a swath through the country, economic capital Sao Paulo began reopening shops on Wednesday as part of a gradual resumption of activity.

Shopping malls were set to reopen in a slew of cities on Thursday, the day before Brazilians celebrate Valentine’s Day. Mexico, with nearly 15,000 COVID-19 deaths, and Peru, with almost 6,000 deaths from 208,000 cases, are also battling a deep surge.

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