US Coronavirus Outbreak Officially World's Deadliest As Total Killed Tops 20k: Live Update

Summary:

  • US death toll passes Italy to become No. 1.
  • More than 20k US deaths recorded
  • Cuomo says "all trends pointing down" as curve flattens
  • NY reports 783 deaths over last 24 hours
  • For 1st time, all 50 US states under disaster declaration
  • UK death toll nears 10k
  • Italy reports jump in new cases, deaths
  • Belgium case total passes 10k
  • Russia case total doubles in a week
  • Spain extends lockdown but begins planning to reopen economy
  • UK Health Secretary "signs that curve is slackening"
  • 8 million French workers sign up for Macron's benefits plan
  • SBA says banks have lent nearly $200 billion of $350 billion 'PPP' money
  • India extends lockdown 2 weeks as cases, deaths accelerate
  • Iran says plans to reopen economy soon fearing all-out collapse

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Update (1711ET): President Trump has just approved a disaster declaration for Wyoming, and now, for the first time in history, all 50 states plus the US Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Washington DC, Guam and Puerto Rico all have had disaster declarations approved by the Feds, allowing them access to federal resources through FEMA.

Since the start of the outbreak, Trump has issued 55 disaster declarations.

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Update (1425ET): According to JHU, the death toll in the US just topped 20,000 as it extends its lead over Italy.

Meanwhile, Russia reports 1,667 new cases of coronavirus and 12 new deaths for a total of 13,584 cases and 106 deaths.

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Update (1415ET): Remember Beijing's insistence that President Trump's decision to bar Chinese travelers (and any foreigner who had been to China in the last two weeks) from entering the US was racist?

Pot, meet kettle.

Provincial authorities in Guangzhou just ordered bars and restaurants not to serve people who "appear to be African." And Trump is the racist?

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Update (1334ET): Just to clarify, there's some debate about whether Italy or the US has the No. 1 body count in the world as of Saturday. It changes depending on whose numbers one is using.

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Update (1312ET): New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy reported an increase of 3,599 new cases, bringing the total to 58,151, and 251 new deaths, bringing the state-wide death toll to 2,183, as the US surpasses Italy as the country with the highest death toll, according to some counts. As Murphy tries to tighten the lockdown, he ordered public and private transit in the state to cut capacity by 50%. He also expanded the order for all residents to wear face masks in public, even when briefly entering restaurants to pick up their food. All food service personnel will also be required to wear gloves and masks.

As of 10 pm last night, 7,618 New Jersey residents were hospitalized with COVID-19, while 1,746 of these were listed in critical or intensive care; 1,650 ventilators were in use. During his press briefing, Murphy said the state was winning the war against COVID-19, adding that the state had slowed the rate at which its total case count would double.

France also reported new cases, bringing its total to 129,654 and its death toll to 635 new cases to 13,832, a deceleration in new deaths since yesterday.

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Update (1225ET): Italy's Civil Protection service reported 4,694 new cases of coronavirus and 619 new deaths on Saturday, bringing its total cases to 152,271 cases and deaths to 19,468.

As of Saturday morning, the last few states to report out of the US (including, most notably, New York) have pushed the national death toll past 19,489, according to BNO News. And with this, 'officially counted' deaths in the US have surpassed Italy's for the first time, though questions about undercounting in both countries remain.

Still, after a week of declines, Italy reported the most new deaths since April 6, and the most new cases since April 4, helping to contradict the narrative that Europe is already on the 'downward slope'

Will Italy retake the lead on Sunday? At least one chart we cited below seems to suggest that the US will hang on to the No. 1 spot for a little bit.

And of course, it's still possible that the accurate death toll across China is actually higher than both countries'.

On a different note, CNN reported Saturday that police in Kentucky are using license-plate readers to keep of track of those who attend funerals for COVID-19 victims to ensure that they don't violate their mandatory 14-day quarantines.

Meanwhile, as the virus spreads through America's federal prisons, and roughly 20% of the NYPD is calling out sick, there are now 237 members of the Chicago Police Department who have tested positive for coronavirus, interim Chicago Police Superintendent Charlie Beck said at a press conference Saturday morning.

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With millions trapped inside their homes for the holiday weekend on Saturday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo kicked things off in the US with his usual daily press conference, revealing that hospitalizations and ICU admissions remained well below worst-case levels.

As the press briefing began, Cuomo said New York had recorded 783 deaths over the past 24 hours. While New York's death toll is still accelerating faster than practically every other state in the country, Cuomo insisted that all of the state's numbers - new cases, deaths, hospitalizations, ICU admission etc. - were now "on the down slope."

In other words, the peak has come and gone, and even as NYC cancels school for the rest of the year (something Mayor de Blasio announced earlier), Cuomo has suggested that the light at the end of the tunnel is now in sight - and that New Yorkers just need to hang on for a little bit longer.

While New York and the surrounding area continues to struggle with the brunt of the outbreak in the US, the SBA reported on Saturday that more than half of the $350 billion earmarked for the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill's "Paycheck Program Program" had finally been allocated in loans to small businesses after the program encountered some initial complications that slowed disbursements down for nearly a week. Meanwhile, Americans around the country are starting to receive their stimulus checks.

Unfortunately, while Republicans in the Senate tried to pass a $250 billion extension to the PPP this past week, Democrats ended up blocking it, claiming it didn't go far enough, an excuse that we imagine every small business owner forced to shutter their business because they didn't get a loan in time will appreciate.

Cuomo praised the fact that the numbers finally seem to have stabilized in his state, but lamented the fact that NY is still seeing nearly 1,000 deaths a day from the virus as it supplants heart disease and car accidents as the third-biggest killer in America.

"You can see that the number is somewhat stabilizing, but it is stabilizing at a horrific rate," Cuomo said. "These are just incredible numbers depicting incredible loss and pain."

Still, "the curve is continuing to flatten," Cuomo added.

As we noted last night, the global count of confirmed deaths linked to COVID-19 has surpassed 100k.

And while Europe has continued to contribute more than half the daily total, the US is on track to surpass that number in short order, as illustrated by the FT.

To get a better picture of how the global outbreak has evolved, it's helpful to look at the trend excluding China.

Over in Spain, meanwhile, PM Pedro Sanchez was in high spirits as he announced that the government was preparing plans to lift its lockdown. His government reported 510 new deaths over the last 24 hours on Saturday, bringing the national death toll to 16,353. However, the figure of new deaths represented the lowest daily total in weeks. While Spain's restrictions are likely to remain in effect until mid-May, the government plans to begin the process of lifting them later this week. It has published a manual of best practices as people return to work, and the government has also promised to distribute masks to citizens.

In the UK, Health Minister Matt Hancock reported 5,233 new cases of coronavirus and 917 new deaths, bringing the country's totals to 78,991 cases and 9,875 deaths. As the national death toll nears 10k, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that there were "signs that the curve is slackening" and urged people to stay at home over the Easter weekend despite the warm weather.

A handful of other European countries have reached important milestones on Saturday. Belgium saw the number of confirmed cases pass 10k on Saturday as health officials promise to ramp up testing in managed-care facilities to fight the outbreak.

In France, officials reported that more than 8 million workers are now enrolled in the government's benefits program designed to continue paying salaries to keep families eating during the outbreak.

Indian PM Modi announced on Saturday that his nation of ~1.4 billion would extend its lockdown, which was set to end Tuesday, for another two weeks, an announcement that was met with groans from the Indian public. So far, new cases and deaths have continued to accelerate despite the restrictive measures, which have now been extended until April 30.

Iran reported 1,837 new cases and 125 new deaths on Saturday, for a total of 70,029 cases and 4,357 deaths. As the Iranian economy buckles under the weight of the virus, officials said on Saturday that Iran might start reopening its economy as soon as next week, since millions of workers can simply no longer afford to stay home and not work.

Once that happens, the world will watch closely as Iran becomes a guinea pig for re-opening an economy after a serious outbreak of the novel coronavirus.