Italy Records Almost 1,000 Coronavirus Deaths In One-Day Record

Italy Records Almost 1,000 Coronavirus Deaths In One-Day Record

Italy recorded almost 1,000 deaths from the coronavirus Friday in the worst one-day toll anywhere around the world since the pandemic began, as experts said the country's epidemic could be nearing its peak.

Five weeks after the virus took root in Italy, the country's recorded cases rose to nearly 86,500 -- more than the United States, or China -- where the flu-like disease emerged in December.

The number of deaths surged by 969 victims to 9,134, the civil protection agency said, though that included 50 victims who had been missing from the previous day's count.

Contagion was slowing, however -- Friday saw a 7.4 percent increase in cases, down from around 8.0 percent in previous days -- and the national health institute (ISS) cautiously suggested the lockdown may soon bear fruit.

"I want to be clear on one point. We have not peaked yet," the institute's head Silvio Brusaferro said.

"There are signs of a slowdown, which makes us believe that we are close, we could peak in the next few days."