A worker controls the temperature of a woman as she arrives at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan on April 8, 2020. (Getty)

  • The number of coronavirus cases is on track to exceed 2 million on Tuesday. 
  • Deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, now stands at more than 120,000. 
  • Some countries have begun to lift lockdown restrictions to reinvigorate their economies despite mounting cases and deaths.
  • Experts have warned that lifting restrictions too early may lead to a second wave of infections in places that thought they were in the clear.
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The number of coronavirus cases globally is expected to exceed 2 million on Tuesday. 

According to Johns Hopkins University, which has been keeping a tally of the number of coronavirus cases around the world, the number of confirmed cases jumped to 2,019,320 as of 8 p.m. ET. However, an apparent error with Florida's caseload — about 100,000 too many — briefly pushed the tracker beyond 2 million.

Still, the global number of known cases, now at more than 1,935,000, should exceed 2 million before the end of Tuesday given a growth of 70,000-100,000 new cases daily over the past week. Those killed by Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, now stands at more than 120,000. 

The US is the country with the largest number of coronavirus cases by far, with over 680,000 cases as of Tuesday morning. It has recorded 23,650 deaths, with about one-third of deaths taking place in New York state. 

China, the former epicenter of the disease, has recorded more than 83,300 cases and 3,345 deaths. The country has begun to slowly reopen its industries after weeks of reporting no new domestic cases. But on Sunday, the country's National Health Commission reported 108 new cases, which authorities say mainly originated abroad, prompting concerns of a second wave of infection. 

Italy has also emerged as a hotbed for infection, and its cases per capita infection rate has consistently been higher than others. As of Tuesday morning, the country recorded more than 159,000 cases and over 20,000 deaths. 

Experts say that the high rate of infection in Italy may be due to its aging population who are more susceptible to severe cases of Covid-19. The country has one of the world's oldest populations, with 60% of people aged over age 40. Italian doctors treating coronavirus have also reportedly considered prioritizing younger, healthier patients who have a higher survival rate, leaving the elderly more at risk. 

Spain has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases globally, with at least 172,000 cases confirmed as of Tuesday. More than 18,000 people there have died from the disease. Despite the mounting case count, the country is beginning to ease its strict lockdown measures in order to restart its economy. On Monday, the government lifted some restrictions and allowed some businesses whose employees cannot work remotely to return to work, according to the BBC.

Denmark and Austria have also said they are aiming to begin lifting their lockdowns, should the number of coronavirus cases within their borders continue to decline. 

But despite renewed confidence about stopping the disease spread, experts have warned that lifting restrictions too early may lead to a "second wave of infections" in countries that gained an upper hand on the disease. 

"There are huge and complex tradeoffs between health and the economy," said Nick Wilson, a professor at the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago in New Zealand. "And some business people possibly think that it is better to keep the economy functioning at a higher level — even if it might mean a large death toll."

Correction (10:30 a.m. ET on April 14, 2020): An error with Florida's reported cases caused JHU's tracker to briefly top 2 million on Monday evening. The corrected number is more than 1,935,000 as of Tuesday morning but is expected to exceed 2 million within 24 hours.

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