Global coronavirus cases exceeded 12 million on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, as evidence mounts of the airborne spread of the disease that has killed more than half a million people in seven months.
The number of cases is triple that of severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to the World Health Organization.
Many hard-hit countries are easing lockdowns put in place to slow the spread of the novel virus, while others, such as China and Australia, implement another round of shutdowns in response to a resurgence in infections. Experts say alterations to work and social life could last until a vaccine is available.
The first case was reported in China in early January and it took 149 days to hit 6 million cases. It has taken less than a third of that time – just 39 days – to double to 12 million cases, the tally shows.