40,000 and counting: Covid-19 death toll in US tops global numbers

The death toll from the coronavirus disease Covid-19 rose to more than 40,000 in the United States on Sunday, the highest in the world and almost double the number of deaths in the next hardest-hit country Italy.

It took the United States 38 days after recording its first fatality on February 29 to reach 10,000 deaths on April 6, but only five more days to reach 20,000 dead, according to news agency Reuters.

The United States’ toll increased to 40,000 from 30,000 in four days after including untested but probable Covid-19 deaths reported by New York City. The US toll exceeds that of Italy, which has the second-highest number of deaths at 23,660, according to Johns Hopkins.

The United States has by far the world’s largest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases, with more than 7,50,000 infections – a number that has doubled in 13 days. New cases on Saturday rose by nearly 29,000.

New York has borne the brunt of the virus, which has killed more than 18,000 people in the state, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.

The tracker also shows total US caseload of 7,42,442 – nearly four times that of Spain, which has almost 1,96,000 cases.

However, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that the outbreak is “on the descent”, adding “it’s no time to get cocky and it’s no time to get arrogant.”

The first sign of easing emerged in Europe as Italy, Spain and France reported the smallest increases in fatalities in week. Germany is letting smaller stores, car dealerships, bike shops and bookstores reopen Monday. Still, social restrictions imposed to curb the virus must be eased in phases and don’t spell the end of the epidemic, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

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