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Coronavirus cases in Latin America for the first time have surpassed the combined infections in the United States and Canada, a Reuters tally showed on Sunday, amid a surge of infections in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Argentina.

The quickly growing number of cases make Latin America the region most affected by the pandemic globally, with 26.83 per cent of worldwide cases.

Latin America now has 4,327,160 total cases of the novel coronavirus compared to 4,308,495 infections in United States and Canada, according to the count based on data provided by the governments of each country.

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The United States continues to be the individual country with the highest number of infections and deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, with more than 4.2 million cases and roughly 146,000 deaths, followed by Brazil, with 2.4 million cases and nearly 87,000 dead.

Mexico, Peru and Chile also are among the top 10 nations in COVID-19 cases.

According to the Reuters count, the number of people known to have been infected worldwide exceeds 16.1 million.

Health experts have said that official data almost certainly under-reports infections and deaths, particularly in countries with limited testing capacity.

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