The number of coronavirus cases in the US has surpassed 200,000 as the death toll increased to more than 4,300.
According to MailOnline, new infections across the country increased by 25,676 on Wednesday, while new deaths from the coronavirus rose by 908.
The US death toll has now surpassed the number of deaths reported in China (3,309) where the outbreak first emerged back in December.
The death toll in Italy (12,428) and Spain (9,053) is still higher than the United States.
More than 40 percent of the country’s fatal cases come from New York state where the death toll rose by 391 to 1,941. New York state also saw an increase of 7,917 cases to bring the total number of new infections to 83,712.
Michigan now has the third highest death toll in the country after reporting a spike in its figures over night. The state recorded 75 news deaths, bringing its death toll to 259. Michigan has more than 7,600 confirmed cases.
New Jersey is second behind New York with 267 deaths and 18,997 infections.
President Donald Trump has warned Americans to brace for a ‘hell of a bad two weeks’ ahead as the White House projected there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the US even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained.
Trump called it ‘a matter of life and death’ for Americans to heed his administration’s guidelines and predicted the country would soon see a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.
‘I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,’ Trump said. ‘This is going to be one of the roughest two or three weeks we’ve ever had in our country… We’re going to lose thousands of people.’
The jaw-dropping projections were laid out as officials described a death toll that in a best-case scenario would likely be greater than the more than 53,000 American lives lost during World War I. The model’s high end neared the realm of possibility that Americans lost to the virus could approach the 291,000 Americans killed on the battlefield during World War II.
Dr. Tony Fauci, the country’s leading virus expert, called the numbers ‘sobering’ and urged Americans to ‘step on the accelerator’ with their collective mitigation efforts.
Trump’s comments came after he announced on Sunday that he was extending to April 30 the social distancing guidelines that advise Americans to cease large gatherings, work from home, suspend onsite learning at schools and more in a nationwide effort to stem the spread of the virus.
It was an abrupt reversal for Trump who spent much of last week targeting April 12 as the day he wanted to see Americans ‘pack the pews’ for Easter Sunday services.
Fears that the US is on track to become the new Italy, whose healthcare system has buckled under the weight of the pandemic, are fast becoming a reality.
The mounting crisis hit close to home for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday after he confirmed that his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, had tested positive for the virus.
Governor Cuomo admitted on Tuesday that ‘no one knows’ when the crisis will be over and said he was unifying the state’s private and public healthcare systems to operate as one before the pandemic ‘apex’ in the state hits.
Cuomo said the data is uneven and ‘bouncing’ so where it appears the death rates may be slowing, they are not yet.
‘It’s an imperfect reporting mechanism but the basic line is still up. We’re still going up,’ he said, adding that he was speaking to every expert he could find to rely on their projections and not ‘opine’ over what may happen.
He said he was ‘tired’ of being ‘behind’ the virus, adding: ‘We’ve been behind this virus from day one. The virus was in China. Unless we assume some immune system variation with Asian people, it was coming here. You don’t win playing catch up. We have to get ahead of it.’
He also said it was foolish to ‘underestimate your opponent’, continuing: ‘We underestimated this virus. It’s more powerful and dangerous than we anticipated.’
The USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds, 12 operating rooms and a full medical staff, arrived in the city on Monday. It will be used to treat non-coronavirus patients to free up space in city hospitals.
Field hospitals have also been set up in Central Park, the Javits Center and even in hotels like the Plaza and St Regis. The indoor tennis center that is the site of the U.S. Open tournament is being turned into a hospital as well.
Makeshift morgues have been put in place at various hospitals across the city as the death toll continues to rise and healthcare workers struggle to keep up with the body count.
The city also worked to bring in 250 out-of-town ambulances and 500 paramedics to deal with a crush of emergency calls. The fire commissioner said ambulances are responding to double their normal daily total of 3,000 calls to 911. A five-day stretch last week was the busiest in the history of the city’s emergency services operation.
Nearly 80,000 former nurses, doctors and others are said to be stepping forward in New York as Gov Cuomo said officials are doing background checks for disciplinary actions and otherwise making sure they are fit for duty.
As for Gov Cuomo’s brother Chris, the TV host said he was diagnosed after he suffered from fever, chills and shortness of breath. He is currently isolated in his basement to remain away from his family and film his shows.
Virus expert says all 50 states need to be on lockdown at the same time otherwise the coronavirus curve won’t flatten and predicts social distancing will continue for another 10 weeks – as Bill Gates warns failing to shut down is a ‘recipe for disaster’
It comes as a virus expert said that all 50 states in the United States need to be on lockdown at the same time to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Virologist Dr Joseph Fair said the entire country needs to better follow social distancing guidelines and implement lockdowns after the US government’s stark projection that there could be between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic.
Public health officials have stressed that the death toll number could be less if people across the country adhere to strict social distancing.
In an interview with NBC’s Today on Wednesday, Dr Fair said insisting on social distancing was a ‘moot point’ unless the entire country was on a lockdown.
‘Until all 50 states do it, and they all do it at the same time, it’s really kind of a moot point,’ he said.
Dr Fair said the government’s latest projections were ‘best case scenarios’ if everyone was doing the same thing to help stop the spread of the virus.
‘That’s only going to happen if all 50 states are doing the same thing,’ he said. ‘That’s why I’d really urge the Association of Governors to get together – everybody get on the same page as far as what they’re going to do and everybody implement the same measures.’
He said that if all states initiated a stay-at-home order, social distancing would need to continue for as many as 10 weeks.
‘Realistically, I think it is going to have to go on for 6 to even 10 weeks. That’s if everyone starts today,’ Dr Fair said.
‘If everyone is not doing it there are still going to be people spreading it. There are things we’re going to have to do – we have to go to the grocery store, we have to go to the pharmacy. There are people working in hospitals. But we can all do our own part and everyone has to do it. I think the police need to get involved in it just as far as implementing strict distancing measures.’