By Lisa Shumaker

(Reuters) – U.S. cases of the novel coronavirus were approaching 1 million on Tuesday, having doubled in 18 days, and made up one-third of all infections in the world, according to a Reuters tally.

More than 56,000 Americans have died of the highly contagious respiratory illness COVID-19 caused by the virus, an average of about 2,000 a day this month, according to the tally.

The actual number of cases is thought to be higher, with state public health officials cautioning that shortages of trained workers and materials have limited testing capacity.

About 30% of the cases have occurred in New York state, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, followed by New Jersey, Massachusetts, California and Pennsylvania.

Globally, coronavirus cases top 3 million since

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