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World Health Organization officials are holding a press conference Wednesday to update the public on the COVID-19 outbreak.
The virus has infected more than 121,564 people and killed at least 4,373 worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The virus has shuttered commerce across China and is hitting corporate earnings. It has sent global stock markets spiraling, manufacturing has slowed as factories close their doors, and companies have been forced to cancel planned events around the world.
The WHO has yet to classify the virus as a pandemic, but officials have warned that the threat of a pandemic is “very real.” The organization has maintained that its attention is on containing the spread, although the virus has spread substantially beyond China and has now been found in more than 100 countries.
“Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on a conference call from the organization’s Geneva headquarters Monday.
While the virus is slowing in China, where it originated in December, it’s picking up pace across other parts of the world. Italy has at least 10,149 confirmed cases, making it the hardest-hit outside China, which has prompted the government to implement strict, nation-wide quarantine measures.
Read CNBC’s live updates to see the latest news on the COVID-19 outbreak.