The coronavirus death toll in the United States has surpassed Italy’s on Saturday, with more than 20,087 Americans dying from the virus.
Italy has recorded 18,849 deaths as of this afternoon.
The US also yesterday recorded the deadliest day from the coronavirus pandemic any country has so far seen as it becomes the first to mark 2,000 deaths in 24 hours.
In the country’s epicentre, New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed 783 more people died from the virus yesterday, bringing the death toll in the state to 8,627.
Although the number of deaths was ‘stabilizing’, it was ‘stabilizing at a horrific rate’, Cuomo said.
According to the latest figures, 508,791 Americans have now tested positive for COVID-19.
As of Saturday midday, there were more than 2,700 new cases compared to the day before.
Italy has continued to show signs its coronavirus lockdown is working as the number of new deaths and infections both fell today.
The number of fatalities recorded on Friday was 570, down from 610 the previous day, while the number of new cases slowed to 3,951 from 4,204 the day before.
The latest tallies broadly confirm what experts describe as a plateau of new cases and deaths, which are no longer accelerating but are still not falling steeply.
The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 rose to 18,849, the Civil Protection Agency said, which before Saturday was the highest in the world.
The number of officially confirmed cases climbed to 147,577, the third-highest global tally behind those of the United States and Spain.
With the New York metropolitan swamped with cases, fear mounted over the spread of the virus into the nation’s heartland.
Twenty-four residents of an Indiana nursing home hit by COVID-19 have died.
Chicago’s Cook County has set up a temporary morgue that can take more than 2,000 bodies.
And Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been going around telling groups of people to ‘break it up.’
As the coronavirus tightens its grip across the country, it is cutting a particularly devastating swath through an already vulnerable population — black Americans.
Democratic lawmakers and community leaders in cities hard-hit by the pandemic have been sounding the alarm over what they see as a disturbing trend of the virus killing African Americans at a higher rate, along with a lack of overall information about the race of victims as the nation’s death toll mounts.
Among the cities where black residents have been hard-hit: New York, Detroit, New Orleans, Chicago and Milwaukee.
At the end of a week, officials had warned would be this generation’s Pearl Harbor, White House officials pointed to hopeful signs Friday that the spread of the coronavirus could be slowing, even as President Donald Trump insisted he would not move to reopen the country until it is safe.
At the same time, Trump said he would be announcing the launch of what he dubbed the ‘Opening our Country’ task force next Tuesday to work toward that goal.
‘I want to get it open as soon as possible,’ he said at a Good Friday briefing while adding:
‘The facts are going to determine what I do.’
With the economy reeling and job losses soaring, Trump has been itching to reopen the country, drawing alarm from health experts who warn that doing so too quickly could spark a deadly resurgence that could undermine current distancing efforts.
But Trump, who had once set Easter Sunday as the date he hoped people in certain parts of the country might begin to return to work and pack church pews, said he would continue to listen to health experts like Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx as he considers what he described as the ‘biggest decision I’ve ever had to make.’
While ‘there are both sides to every argument,’ he said, ‘we’re not doing anything until we know that this country is going be healthy. We don’t want to go back and start doing it over again.’
More than 40 per cent of the deaths in the US so far have happened in New York state, which reported 777 new deaths on Friday.