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Thursday, 16 April 2020

2,500 Americans die in one day - bringing nation's fatalities to over 33,500


The daily death toll in the United States has set yet another grim record after more than 2,500 fatalities were recorded in a day - the highest yet amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Another 2,524 Americans died of coronavirus in 24 hours, bringing the death toll in the country to more than 33,500.

The record number of deaths comes days after a statistical model relied on by the White House projected that the peak death day would be Monday with 2,150 fatalities.

The number of coronavirus infections across the US has increased by 30,550, bringing the total to 658,962 cases.

Experts view deaths as a 'trailing indicator' that continues to increase for several days even if new cases and hospitalizations decline - as people who were hospitalized days or weeks ago continue to pass away. 


The statistical model from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicted this week that the total US deaths in the pandemic could reach about 68,800 by early August. 
It suggests the US has not yet hit the halfway point for potential fatalities. 
New York, which remains the epicenter of the US outbreak, has recorded a decrease in its daily death toll. There were 606 deaths in 24 hours, bringing the total to more than 12,100. 
The number of infections in hard-hit New York have increased to 222,000. 
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has extended the state's lockdown by two weeks until May 15. 
Cuomo said on Thursday that while the rate of hospitalizations in New York is decreasing, it was still unclear how many people have actually been infected with COVID-19. 
He said the unknown tally of infections is what is stopping him from reopening the economy because if people who don't know they are infected return to work, they risk infecting countless others and wiping out all the progress that has been made.
Cuomo, who has emerged as a leading national voice on the pandemic, said the improvement in key metrics reflected social distancing efforts that had brought the infection rate in his state low enough to control the outbreak.
A total of 17,735 people were hospitalized across New York because of COVID-19, down from 18,335 a day earlier and the lowest since April 6, Cuomo said. Intubations and admissions to intensive care units also declined, he said. 
'The good news is it means we can control the virus. We can control the spread,' Cuomo told a daily briefing. 'And we did not know for sure that we could do that.'  
Cuomo said on Thursday that while the rate of hospitalizations in New York is decreasing, it was still unclear how many people have actually been infected with COVID-19
But Cuomo noted that about 2,000 infected people were newly admitted to hospitals on Wednesday, and that while deaths declined to 606, marking the lowest daily count in more than a week, the toll on his state was still significant.
'That is still continuing at a really, really tragic rate,' Cuomo said of the death tally, adding that there were 29 fatalities at nursing homes, which he called 'ground zero' in the fight against the virus.
Cuomo said there was room for optimism in how social distancing had lowered the infection rate to 0.9 across New York, meaning one infected person was causing less than one new infection. 
President Donald Trump's social distancing guidelines are set to expire on April 30 and he has cited May 1 as a target for reopening the country. 
On Wednesday, Trump said he was prepared to announce new guidelines allowing some states to quickly ease up on social distancing even as business leaders told him they need more coronavirus testing and personal protective equipment before people can safely go back to work.
Trump said during his latest White House briefing that data indicates the US is 'past the peak' of the COVID-19 epidemic, clearing the way for his plans to roll out guidelines to begin to 'reopen' the country. 
Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, added that data from across the country showed the nation 'improving' but that Americans had to recommit to social distancing to keep up the positive momentum. 
She said nine states have fewer than 1,000 cases and just a few dozen new cases per day. She said those would likely be the first to see a lifting in social distancing restrictions at the direction of their governors.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Thursday ordered a review of long-term care facilities across the state after learning that one nursing home had piled up dead bodies in a makeshift morgue.  
Murphy said he had asked his attorney general to investigate long-term care facilities after being 'outraged that bodies of the dead' had been stacked in a provisional morgue at an overwhelmed nursing home in Andover, a northern New Jersey town.
'Last Saturday, we were notified that the facility was in need of body bags for deceased residents. And it was also reported that there were 28 bodies being stored in that facility,' Judy Persichilli, the health commissioner, said.
While New York appears to have passed the worst of the crisis, New Jersey has yet to call a peak.
New Jersey reported an additional 362 deaths for a total of 3,518, now exceeding the number of residents who died in World War 1, Murphy said.
New Jersey has joined New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island in a pact to coordinate the reopening of their economies.
Murphy extended the closure of New Jersey public schools until May 15, conforming in part with the plan laid out by Cuomo, who said he would be looking at the infection rate and other metrics to decide when to end the shutdowns in New York.
'One month is a long time,' Cuomo said. 'What happens after that, I don't know - we will see, depending on what the data says.


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