US coronavirus deaths pass bleak 10,000 milestone
WASHINGTON: Americans were put on notice on Monday (Apr 6) not to let up in the fight against the coronavirus, as a grim milestone of 10,000 ...
BookmarkWASHINGTON: Americans were put on notice on Monday (Apr 6) not to let up in the fight against the coronavirus, as a grim milestone of 10,000 deaths cast a pall over the first signs of optimism about the trajectory of the outbreak.The United States has emerged as one of the world's worst-hit nations, with a steadily mounting number of fatalities and millions facing the possibility of economic ruin.
AdvertisementAdvertisementAuthorities began the week by telling frightened communities to brace for one of the worst periods yet in the crisis as the outbreak has not yet reached its peak.Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University, which has been keeping a running tally of coronavirus numbers, said at least 356,942 US cases had been confirmed, with 10,524 deaths.
Only Italy (16,523) and Spain (13,055) have seen more of their citizens killed by the deadly pandemic.A paramedic wheels a patient into an emergency arrival area at Elmhurst Hospital during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Queens borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 6, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
AdvertisementDEATH RATE IN NEW YORK 'EFFECTIVELY FLAT'Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday the death rate had been"effectively flat" for two days.But the governor ordered schools and non-essential businesses to remain shut for a further three weeks, telling reporters:"Now is not the time to be lax."
READ: COVID-19: New York hospital doctor prepares for the worstHe pointed to tentative signs that the coronavirus outbreak was starting to plateau.The overall tally of confirmed cases in New York, the US epicenter of the pandemic, grew by 7 per cent from the previous day to 130,680.
But hospitalisations, admissions to intensive care units and the number of patients put on ventilator machines to keep them breathing had all declined - signs that crisis may be leveling off, Cuomo said.Cuomo said coronavirus-related deaths statewide reached 4,758 as of Monday, an increase of 599 from Sunday, on par with an increase of 594 during the previous 24 hours. On Friday, the state's death toll increased by 630.
Healthcare workers walk in personal protective equipment (PPE) outside the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 6, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid
"While none of this is good news, the possible flattening of the curve is better than the increases that we have seen," Cuomo told a daily briefing, referring to the shape of the curve when case numbers, deaths and other data are plotted on a graph.
Cuomo warned it was still too soon to know whether the state has turned the corner, saying:"If we are plateauing, we are plateauing at a high level.""It is hopeful but it is also inconclusive," Cuomo said, adding that it would be a"mistake" to relax restrictions too early.
"If the curve is turning, it's because the rate of infection is going down. If the rate of infection is going down, it's because social distancing is working."In neighboring New Jersey, the state with the second-highest number of cases and deaths, Governor Phil Murphy told a briefing,"Our efforts to flatten the curve are starting to pay off."
There was a 24 per cent per day increase in positive cases on Mar 30, but the rate of growth had slowed to 12 per cent on Monday.New Jersey has confirmed more than 41,000 cases and more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the virus.
READ: Accused of 'piracy', US denies diverting masks bound for Germany'SOCIAL DISTANCING IS WORKING'The pandemic has killed nearly 75,000 worldwide since the emergence of the new coronavirus in December in China, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources.
Authorities have warned that between 100,000 and 240,000 people could die in the United States, even in a best-case scenario with social distancing guidelines being observed.Nine states - all controlled by Republican governors - have still not yet ordered total lockdowns, much to the frustration of public health experts.
Wisconsin, which is among those under stay-at-home orders, became the 15th state to delay presidential primaries after initially determining to forge ahead.Governor Tony Evers, citing the risk to poll workers and voters, ordered that Tuesday's Democratic presidential primary and local elections in the Midwestern US state be postponed until June.
"I cannot in good conscience stand by and do nothing," said Evers, whose health officials have registered 2,267 positive tests and 68 deaths.Evers moved to delay the election unilaterally after the Republican-majority state Senate and state Assembly ignored his repeated appeals for a postponement.
PATHWAY FROM CRISISAlthough hotspots such as New York face a dire lack of protective gear, ventilators and medics, there was further cause for optimism, with early-hit states like Washington and California demonstrating a possible pathway out of the crisis.
Washington appears to be on the downward slope of its case curve and has even sent 400 ventilators to New York, but its governor Jay Inslee said he feared a second wave because of the ongoing patchwork response."Even if Washington gets on top of this fully, if another state doesn't, it can come back and come across our borders two months from now, so this is important to have a national success," he told NBC.
California is also showing how it is possible to get on top of the crisis, said epidemiologist Brandon Brown of the University of California, Riverside."We are now ramping up testing, starting to measure community spread, preparing spaces for when hospitals may be overrun," he said.
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