Coronavirus: US now has most Covid deaths, overtaking Italy

With at least 19,833 deaths reported from the Covid-19 outbreak, the US has now become the most affected country in terms of fatalities - overtaking Italy, which has reported 19,468 deaths.
Workers wearing protective equipment bury bodies in a trench on Hart Island on Thursday in the Bronx borough of New York as the death toll in the state continued to mount, putting health care and funeral infrastructure under stress.(Photo: AP)
Workers wearing protective equipment bury bodies in a trench on Hart Island on Thursday in the Bronx borough of New York as the death toll in the state continued to mount, putting health care and funeral infrastructure under stress.(Photo: AP)
Updated on Apr 12, 2020 06:48 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Washington | ByYashwant Raj

It was a day of tragic records for the US on Saturday, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to torment the country, forcing authorities to start digging up trenches for mass graves.

With at least 19,833 deaths reported from the Covid-19 outbreak, the US has now become the most affected country in terms of fatalities - overtaking Italy, which has reported 19,468 deaths.

America is already the worst-hit nation in terms of cases. It is the only country to have reported more than 500,000 infections. New York is the most affected American state, having recorded nearly 9,000 deaths and over 172,000 infections.

Earlier in the day, the US also became the first country to report more than 2,000 fatalities from the coronavirus disease in a single day. By Saturday, the global death toll had gone past 106,000, while the number of cases worldwide stood at 1.73 million.

Amid the deepening crisis in the country, US President Donald Trump said that he will appoint a special task force next week that will decide on when to reopen the country.

Despite the rising number of cases and fatalities, US officials insist there are signs of an improvement in the situation, especially in the areas with a high incidence of cases. New York state has seen a drop in instances of hospitalisation. New Jersey and Connecticut have somewhat stabilised and although cities such as Boston and Chicago continue to report cases, the rate of increase has stabilised.

But the crisis has not yet reached the peak, health officials said. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House task force for the coronavirus outbreak, said, “As encouraging as they are, we have not reached the peak.” April 16 is widely believed to be the projected peak day in the US.

Trump is admittedly in a hurry to reopen the country as the economy continues to take a hammering due to shutdowns . Asked if he is determined to remove the restrictions by May 1 as he had vowed earlier, he said, “I would love to open it. I’m not determined (on) anything. The facts are going to determine what I do.”

‘Virus found in air up to 13 ft from patients’

A study examining air samples from hospital wards with Covid-19 patients has found the virus can travel up to 13 feet, twice the distance current guidelines say people should leave between themselves in public.

The preliminary results of the investigation by Chinese researchers were published on Friday in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal of the US CDC.

They add to a debate on how the disease is transmitted, with the scientists cautioning that the small quantities of virus they found at this distance are not necessarily infectious. The researchers were led by a team at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing.

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