Coronavirus Cases in the United States Reach Half a Million, Death Toll Almost a third of All Cases Worldwide
The total number of new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States exceeded half a million on Friday, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University and Reuters – accounting for almost a third of all cases worldwide.
The country’s total number of cases from 501,419 at midnight ET is greater than the combined total of the three countries with the highest figures in the world: Spain, Italy and France. The US total is more than three times that of Spain, 158,273.
The United States was also on the verge of overtaking Italy as the country with the most deaths from COVID-19 on Friday evening. Italy recorded 18,849 deaths, while the United States reported 18,758, according to Johns Hopkins at midnight.
As of Friday, the death toll worldwide has surpassed 100,000. Nearly 1.7 million people worldwide have tested positive for COVID-19.
Just over two weeks ago, on March 26, the United States overtook Italy and China to become the country with the most cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. A day later, the number of cases exceeded 100,000, the first country to do so.
Cases across the country and the resulting deaths have been escalating ever since, as federal and state governments scramble to confront the pandemic.
New York State was responsible for more than half of the deaths in the country and had a particularly bleak week, with fatalities increasing by more than 3,000 between Monday and Friday.
Mass graves are used to bury some of the dead.
Detroit, Louisiana and Washington, D.C., have also been identified as recent hot spots, following deadly epidemics in California and the greater Seattle area.
Yet despite record numbers, U.S. President Donald Trump and colleagues expressed optimism on Friday that the spread of the coronavirus could slow.
Trump, who last month expressed hope that the country’s economy could reopen this coming Easter Sunday, said Friday that he would announce the launch of what he called the “Open” task force. our country “next Tuesday to work in this direction.
“I want to open it as soon as possible,” he said during the Good Friday briefing, adding: “The facts will determine what I do.”
The Trump administration has been criticized for slowness in responding to the pandemic and for appearing to prioritize the economy over national closings and physical distancing measures even after stepping up the federal response.
The Washington Post reported that Trump had taken warnings from Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, on the economic toll that large orders for on-site shelters would have the advice of health officials such as the Secretary of Health and Social services, Alexander Azar, said that such measures were necessary to slow the spread of the virus.
CNN reported that Trump only stepped up his messages on the crisis after seeing the balance sheet on Wall Street, where the stock markets plunged for several consecutive days early last month.
Trump’s comments came on Friday after a week that officials had warned that it would be devastating for the country, even calling him this generation’s Pearl Harbor. Models from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned that the U.S. could potentially see at least 100,000 deaths by the summer.
Health experts have warned that if the country cancels the restrictions too quickly, case levels may start to soar again, particularly without widespread testing to determine who may be carrying the virus.
Research has shown that people can be very contagious even if they don’t have symptoms.
Still, states are beginning to signal signs of hope that the virus may slow down in parts of the country. New York said the number of people in intensive care had dropped there for the first time since mid-March. Hospitalizations are also slowing, with 290 new patients admitted in a single day against a daily increase of more than 1,000 last week.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said planning for the state’s reopening was underway after health officials said their projections could end up being lower than expected thanks to tough measures of social distancing.