(NEW YORK) — Despite multiple countries and some U.S. states beginning to see a decline in hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID-19, health officials say the pandemic is far from over. On Monday, the total number of global deaths from the coronavirus topped a quarter million people.
As of Monday morning, the total number of global COVID-19 deaths stood at 251,910, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The pandemic, which was first reported in China last December, has sickened over 3.6 million people as of Monday morning. However, that number is expected to be much higher following speculation that some countries are downplaying their numbers while other say inconsistencies in testing may have contributed to an under-reporting of cases.
It has now been hypothesized that COVID-19 struck other regions of the world much earlier than thought.
Dr. Yves Cohen, an intensive care chief in Paris, believes that the first case in France was actually on December 27, after identifying a positive case at Jean-Verdier Hospital in the northeastern Paris suburb of Bondy. Previously, the first case was identified in southwestern Bordeaux on January 24.
Doctors tested the sample twice to be sure the data was accurate. Officials say the patient went on to infect his two children, but not his wife. While it is possible the patient is France’s first known COVID-19 patient, doctors are now looking into cases that tested negative for pneumonia to see if they, too, might have been misdiagnosed COVID-19 infections.
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