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U.S. records 1,169 coronavirus fatalities in 24 hours

In short supply: Healthcare workers at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York demanding for personal safety and effective patient care.

In short supply: Healthcare workers at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York demanding for personal safety and effective patient care.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Worldwide, confirmed new coronavirus infections surged past 1 million and deaths topped 54,000

The U.S. recorded 1,169 COVID-19 fatalities in the past 24 hours, the Johns Hopkins University tracker showed on Thursday, the highest one-day death toll recorded in any country since the global pandemic began.

The toll reflected figures reported by the university between 8:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday and the same time on Thursday. The grim record was previously held by Italy, where 969 people died on March 27.

The U.S. has now recorded 6,069 coronavirus deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Globally, Italy has the highest total death toll, with 13,915 dying of the disease there, followed by Spain at 10,003.

The U.S. also recorded more than 30,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the same 24-hour period, bringing the total number of officially reported cases in the country to more than 2,43,000, according to Johns Hopkins.

The outbreak has snapped the U.S.’ record-breaking hiring streak of nearly 10 years, while U.S. and European medical workers struggling to save ailing patients on Friday watched supplies of medicine, protective equipment and breathing machines dwindle by the hour.

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Swift end

Jobs numbers released in the U.S. showed the virus dealt a swift end to the nation’s 50-year-low unemployment rate, with employers reporting hundreds of thousands of job cuts in March.

The true picture, though, is far worse, because the government figures do not include the last two weeks, when nearly 10 million thrown-out-of-work Americans applied for unemployment benefits.

Worldwide, confirmed infections surged past 1 million and deaths topped 54,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Europe’s three worst-hit countries — Italy, Spain and France — surpassed 30,000 dead, or over half of the global toll. From those countries, the view remained almost unrelentingly grim, a frightening portent for places like New York, the epicentre of the U.S. outbreak, where bodies are being loaded by forklift into refrigerated trucks outside overwhelmed hospitals.

Shortages of critical equipment led to fierce competition among buyers from Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere. A regional leader in Paris described the scramble to find masks a “worldwide treasure hunt.” Governor Andrew Cuomo warned that New York could run out of ventilators in six days.

With infections spreading, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has asked the Pentagon for 1,00,000 more body bags.

In Florida, hundreds of passengers on a cruise ship where four people died were finally being allowed to disembark after a days-long stand-off. More than a dozen critically ill patients were taken to hospitals, while people healthy enough to travel were taken to the airport for chartered flights home.

One Spanish hospital turned its library into an intensive care unit. In France, space was set aside for bodies in a vast food market. The French prime minister said he is “fighting hour by hour” to ward off shortages of essential drugs used to keep COVID-19 patients alive.

France cancelled its high-school exit exam known as the Baccalaureat, a first in the 212-year history of the test.

Some glimmers of hope emerged that Italy, as well as Spain and France might be flattening their infection curves and nearing or even passing their peaks in daily deaths.

Elsewhere in Europe, officials began talking tentatively about how to lift lockdowns that have staved off the total collapse of strained health systems but also battered economies.

Austria said it will set out a timetable next week for what could be “a slow start-up” of closed parts of the economy. The head of Germany’s national disease control centre said he expects that any easing of the lockdown, which this week was extended to April 19, will be staggered.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 5:11:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-records-1169-coronavirus-fatalities/article31251987.ece

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