A grim milestone was reached on Thursday for the coronavirus outbreak.
The number of confirmed cases around the world has now exceeded 1 million, with 51,485 deaths, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. The United States makes up a little under one-fourth of the world’s cases, with 234,462 infections and at least 5,607 deaths.
The U.S. surpassed China as the country with the most deaths as of Tuesday, but China’s official figures have been hotly disputed. Residents in Hubei province, where the virus originated, claim the country’s death toll far exceeds the government’s official tally.
The pandemic has caused major disruptions to the workforce across the U.S. because of widespread stay-at-home orders and directives for nonessential businesses to shutter. Some 93% of people in the U.S. will be under orders to stay at home by Friday.
The Labor Department reported on Thursday that workers claiming new unemployment benefits swelled to a record 6.6 million last week. Thousands of companies have begun laying off or furloughing employees, and the stock market has seen a precipitous decline since the crisis began. More than three-quarters of all hotel rooms across the country are now vacant as travel is restricted.
President Trump warned this week that the worst of the pandemic is yet to come and cautioned that the country will be in for “a very painful two weeks” as cases of COVID-19 are expected to “surge” this month. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said that if full mitigation efforts are implemented, 100,000 to 240,000 people in America are projected to die during the pandemic.