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The semi-official Fars and Tasnim news agencies reported that Ayatollah Hashem Bathaei, a low-profile, moderate member of the Assembly of Experts, died from the COVID-19 illness.

A 78-year-old member of the Iranian clerical body that chooses the country’s supreme leader has died from the illness caused by the new coronavirus, news agencies reported Monday. He was the latest of several senior Iranian officials to have been infected in the worsening outbreak.

The outbreak has infected nearly 14,000 people in Iran and killed more than 700, with the toll jumping by more than a hundred in the last 24 hours. The real numbers may be even higher, as some have questioned the government’s reporting. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough.

For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. Those with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

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