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US has more known cases of coronavirus than any other country

A large sign encourages people to practice social distancing by standing six feet apart as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, outside the Grand Army Plaza entrance to Brooklyn's Prospect Park, in New York, Thursday, March 26, 2020. New York authorities have mobilized to head off a public health disaster, with the city’s emergence as the nation’s biggest new coronavirus hot spot. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
A large sign encourages people to practice social distancing by standing six feet apart as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, outside the Grand Army Plaza entrance to Brooklyn's Prospect Park, in New York, Thursday, March 26, 2020. New York authorities have mobilized to head off a public health disaster, with the city’s emergence as the nation’s biggest new coronavirus hot spot. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The United States now has the highest number of known cases of coronavirus in the world with more than 85,000, according to a running count Thursday kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Italy and China, the latter of which was the origin of the outbreak late last year, both had reported more than 80,000.

The US cases piled up Thursday, surpassing China and Italy. The per capita rate of cases varies because of the countries' vast differences in population.

There have been more than 530,000 cases reported worldwide. The countries’ numbers are changing constantly and both the totals and the rank order of countries could change at any time.

The grim milestone comes just as US officials said there was a new high for fatalities reported in a single day.

At least 246 new deaths were reported Thursday, bringing the total number of deaths nationwide to at least 1,195.

The spike of cases has hospitals around the country scrambling to keep up with the demand for care.

In New York, where more than half of the US cases have been reported, exhausted hospital workers are turning to increasingly desperate measures to combat the virus.

New York Bellevue Hospital Center created a makeshift morgue using tents and refrigerated trucks. At Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, 13 patients died from coronavirus within 24 hours.

A registered nurse described what she has experienced inside a Long Island hospital and the toll that caring for coronavirus patients is taking on health care workers.

"I haven't slept because my mind won't shut off. I cried in the bathroom on my break, as I peeled off the PPE from my sweaty self, mask indentations on my face. I cried the entire ride home," the nurse wrote in a social media post.

The nurse, whom was not named, says patients are streaming in with “non stop coughing, sweaty, fevers” and with “fear in their eyes.”

“I cry for the ones who passed away. I cry because we intubated 5 patients within 10 min and i’m terrified. I cry for my co workers, because we know it will get worse and I already feel like that is impossible and we are already at our breaking point, I cry for the parents, children, siblings, spouses who cannot be with their loved ones who may be dying but cant have visitors because there is no visiting allowed,” the nurse added.