US coronavirus cases top five million - more than a quarter of world's total

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The number of people to test positive for coronavirus in the US has topped five million, meaning the country has more than a quarter of the world's Covid-19 cases.

But experts believe America's actual coronavirus tally - by far the biggest in the world - is likely to be roughly ten times higher than the number of positive test results, if every undiagnosed infection is to be considered.

The latest figures, according to Johns Hopkins University, also show America has more than one fifth of the world's coronavirus deaths, with at least 162,441.

The US reached the grim five million cases milestone on the same day Brazil's coronavirus death toll passed 100,000.

The countries - both of which have presidents with defiant attitudes toward the virus - are the only two countries in the world with death tolls higher than 100,000.

Both America's and Brazil's presidents have defiant attitudes toward coronavirus. Credit: AP

Brazil's death toll is at least 100,477 and its number of cases is at least 3,012,412 - America's confirmed cases are at least 5,000,603.

When the virus first appeared in the United States, President Donald Trump quickly dismissed it as either a “hoax” or a virus that would quickly disappear once warmer weather arrived. 

At one point, the president even suggested that ultraviolet light or injecting disinfectants would eradicate the virus, though he later said he was being facetious.

Mr Trump has repeatedly blamed the America's problems on China, where the virus was first detected.

He also says numbers in the US are so high because there is so much testing.

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, who himself reported being infected, has been a consistent sceptic about the impact of the disease and an advocate of lifting restrictions on the economy that had been imposed by state governors trying to combat coronavirus.

Mr Bolsonaro has downplayed the severity of the virus - even after isolating in the presidential residence for more than two weeks - claiming economic restrictions will prove far more damaging than the disease.

He has frequently ignored social distancing by mingling in crowds throughout the pandemic but his attitude is disapproved of by the majority of Brazilians, according to recent opinion polls.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Mexico has the world's third worst death toll at at least 52,006, while the United Kingdom sits in fourth with 46,651 and India is fifth with 43,379.

Europe as a whole has seen over 207,000 confirmed virus deaths, according to Johns Hopkins' count.

The UK government has repeatedly said international comparisons are problematic because of discrepancies in how cases and deaths are recorded.