By Lisa Shumaker
July 23 (Reuters) - U.S. coronavirus cases were approaching 4 million on Thursday, with over 2,600 new cases every hour on average, the highest rate in the world, according to a Reuters tally.
Infections in the United States have rapidly accelerated since the first case was detected on Jan. 21. It took the country 98 days to reach 1 million cases. It took another 43 days to reach 2 million and then 27 days to reach 3 million. It has only taken 16 days to reach 4 million at a rate of 43 new cases a minute.
The federal government, state governors and city leaders have often clashed over the best way to tackle the pandemic, leading to a confusing patchwork of rules on issues like mask wearing in public and when businesses can open.
President Donald Trump recently shifted his tone. He had been previously been reluctant to wear a mask himself but this week encouraged Americans to wear masks and recently appeared in public for the first time with a face covering.
Of the 20 countries with the biggest outbreak, the United States ranks second for cases per capita, at 120 infections per 10,000 people, only exceeded by Chile.
With over 143,000 deaths, or 4.4 fatalities per 10,000 people, the United States ranks sixth globally for the highest deaths per capita. It is exceeded by the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Chile and France.
Globally, the rate of new infections shows no sign of slowing, with the disease accelerating the fastest in the United States and South America, according to the Reuters tally, based on official reports.
Brazil registered a new daily record for confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, pushing the total confirmed cases across Latin America past 4 million.
Brazil has the second-largest outbreak in the world, with more than 2.2 million people testing positive and nearly 83,000 deaths.
India, the only other country with more than 1 million cases, reported almost 40,000 new cases on Wednesday.
(Writing by Lisa Shumaker, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)
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