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U.S. COVID-19 cases surpass 5.3 mln

The case count in the country rose to 5,306,215, with the national death toll reaching 168,334 as of 00:38 GMT, according to the CSSE.

By far, the United States remains the worst-hit nation, with the highest caseload and death toll.

A new ensemble forecast published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has projected up to 200,000 total COVID-19 deaths in the United States by September 5.

The projection published Thursday forecast that 4,200 to 10,600 new COVID-19 deaths will be reported during the week ending Sept 5 and that 180,000 to 200,000 total COVID-19 deaths will be reported by that date.

If the United States allowed the coronavirus to spread unchecked in an attempt to try to achieve so-called herd immunity, the death toll would be enormous, Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned on Thursday.

A new report from the COVID Tracking Project showed recently that testing continues to fall in the country, especially in the South, one of the areas where the country needs it the most. It said the cases are falling with fewer people now in the hospital with COVID-19 than last week.

This is the second week in a row that hospitalizations seem to have dropped, which suggests that infections may be declining independently of testing reductions, according to the report.

However, several U.S. media organizations are questioning the accuracy of the data, claiming that the actual death toll could be much higher than the official data.

The New York Times published an article on Thursday, claiming that at least 200,000 more people have died than usual since March, a number that is 40,000 higher than the number of deaths that have been directly linked to the coronavirus.

It suggested that the official death counts may be substantially underestimating the overall effects of the virus.

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