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22 Apr, 2020 01:12

US reports 2,700+ coronavirus deaths in 24 hours in its 2nd biggest single-day spike as it prepares to reopen economy

US reports 2,700+ coronavirus deaths in 24 hours in its 2nd biggest single-day spike as it prepares to reopen economy

The United States has reported over 2,700 new Covid-19 fatalities in the space of a single day, AFP reported, citing data from Johns Hopkins University. The daily death toll surged as the country is gradually easing lockdowns.

Some 2,751 American deaths on Tuesday marked one of the deadliest days yet in the global health crisis, which has claimed the lives of some 44,845 people in the US alone. Still the top hotspot for the coronavirus, the US will soon surpass 825,000 cases, more than several of the next worst-hit nations combined.

The spike in fatal cases in the US comes as 20 states – comprising nearly 40 percent of the country’s population – move ahead with plans to lift a variety of lockdown measures imposed to halt the spread of the virus, rescinding stay-at-home orders while allowing businesses to reopen and residents to get back to work. State governors have been given a free hand on exactly when and how to scale back the restrictions, but many have signaled intentions to reopen by the end of April or early May.

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The US saw its deadliest day in the pandemic last Thursday, reporting 4,591 fatalities in one 24-hour period, however the figure is believed to have been significantly inflated after New York City health officials added thousands of “presumed positive” cases to its death toll – patients whose suspected cause of death was listed as Covid-19, but who never took a test for the virus. But because the additional deaths did not occur on the same day, Thursday marked the greatest number of single-day fatalities ever recorded.

With Monday bringing the lowest number of deaths in the US in the last two weeks – 1,433 – the figures stoked optimism that the devastating outbreak could soon wind down, but the newly-released statistics threatened to dash that nascent optimism. As with most stats and figures related to the coronavirus pandemic, the difference between Monday and Tuesday’s death tolls may have more to do with how the data is collected and reported, rather than reflecting the true situation on the ground, as indicated by last week's unprecedented spike, however.

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The virus – and the containment measures enforced to stop it – has laid waste to the American economy, sending more than 22 million workers to unemployment offices across the country since mid-March, or about 13.5 percent of the entire US workforce. The economic strain has become a major impetus behind some states’ moves to reopen, in some cases under pressure from outraged residents demanding an end to the lockdowns.

Congress has passed a number of bills in an effort to lessen the impact on American workers, including a massive $2.2 trillion stimulus package in late March, and will likely pass another bill aimed at keeping small businesses afloat later this week. The president, meanwhile, is expected to sign a new executive order on Wednesday barring some foreign workers from competing with their American counterparts, while closing the country’s borders outright to new permanent residents for the next 60 days.

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