More than half a million people have been infected by the COVID-19 outbreak across the US, according to a running tally Friday by Johns Hopkins University.  

The university in the state of Maryland counted 500,399 cases and 18,693 deaths. There have been a total of 28,837 patients who have recovered.

The first death was reported Feb. 29 in Washington state.

The US is the country with the highest number of infections, but Italy has the most deaths with 18,849.

Worldwide there have been at least 1,696,139 confirmed cases, 102,668 deaths and 376,200 recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins.

COVID-19 is the respiratory disease that manifests in those who have been infected with the virus.

Most people who contract the virus will exhibit mild symptoms, but it can be particularly lethal for individuals with pre-existing chronic health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and asthma.

The virus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, and has spread to 185 countries and regions in the four months.