Global COVID-19 death toll surpasses 500,000, Johns Hopkins data shows

The U.S. continues to lead the world in the number of confirmed cases.

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By Yuliya Talmazan

The global death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 500,000 Sunday, while the number of confirmed cases worldwide reach 10 million, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The number of cases worldwide marks a milestone in the spread of the virus, believed to have originated in China late last year. However, with testing still limited in some parts of the world, the actual number of global cases could be significantly higher.

The United States continues to lead in the number of confirmed cases, with more than 2.5 million and a death toll of 126,332 by Sunday afternoon, according to NBC News' tally.

Vice President Mike Pence postponed planned campaign appearances in Arizona and Florida this week "out of an abundance of caution" because of virus spikes.

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Florida health officials reported a daily record of more than 9,500 new cases Saturday. South Carolina, Nevada and Georgia also reported record daily tallies. Meanwhile, Washington state paused its return to normal because of a rising number of cases and concerns about continued spread of the virus.

Brazil and Russia trail the U.S., with nearly 2 million cases between them.

In India, which has the world's fourth-biggest outbreak, confirmed cases have passed 500,000, health ministry data showed Saturday, with infections surging in major cities, including the capital, New Delhi.

Iran, one of the worst-hit countries early in the pandemic, launched a campaign Saturday to motivate a reluctant public to use masks as it faces a sharp increase in infections and deaths. Since restrictions to stem spread of the virus were gradually lifted from mid-April, cases have increased again. Almost 2,500 new cases were recorded in 24 hours, taking the total to 220,180, health officials said, according to Reuters.

Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk along a street in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Sunday.Atta Kenare / AFP - Getty Images

The virus continues to spread even as a number of countries in Europe are relaxing lockdown measures to give their economies a boost after months of restrictions. Some, like Germany, are experiencing a resurgence, forcing local governments to reimpose partial lockdowns.

Swiss authorities said Saturday that they had ordered 300 people into quarantine after a so-called superspreader outbreak at a Zurich nightclub.

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China's capital, Beijing, recorded a new outbreak linked to a food market this month, prompting a wave of testing, travel restrictions and contact tracing. But officials claim the outbreak has largely been brought under control, even though 14 new cases were reported in the city Sunday. Tens of millions of Chinese traveled during the three-day Dragon Boat Festival, which ended Saturday, with anti-crowding measures in force nationwide.

Reuters contributed.