Iran surpasses 20,000 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has surpassed 20,000 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus. Wednesday’s announcement comes as Iran struggles with the largest outbreak in the Middle East. But despite the somber statistic, the Islamic Republic is still holding university entrance exams for over 1 million students and is preparing for mass Shiite commemorations at the end of the month. Earlier this year Iran suffered the Mideast’s first major outbreak, with senior politicians, health officials and religious leaders in its Shiite theocracy stricken with the virus. It since has struggled to contain its spread across this nation of 80 million people, initially beating it back only to see it spike again, beginning in June.