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US coronavirus death toll rises to 40,000, almost double Italy’s figures

The number of people who have died in the US due to Covid-19 climbed to over 40,000 on Sunday, according to calculations by Reuters and Johns Hopkins University.

The American death toll is the highest in the world and is almost two times larger than the figures from Italy, which is currently ranked second in terms of fatalities.

The death toll has jumped from 30,000 to 40,000 in just four days after the untested but probable coronavirus fatalities were added to the numbers. The first American succumbed to the coronavirus on February 29.

Italy, which remained the world’s hardest hit country for weeks, has so far recorded 23,660 deaths due to the highly-contagious disease. The US is also the international leader in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases, with more than 744,000 testing positive.

But there is some positive news as well, with the pandemic showing signs of slowing down in New York, the epicenter of the outbreak in the US. The number of hospitalizations has dropped by 2,000, now standing at 16,000. The death toll of 507 was also smaller compared to earlier record figures of more than 700 fatalities per day.

This allowed Governor Andrew Cuomo to proclaim that “we showed you can control the beast.” He pointed out that it was too early for celebrations, however, as “we still have to make sure we keep the beast down.”

During a briefing on Sunday, Cuomo announced that the state will perform the most aggressive antibody-testing campaign in the whole of the US next week, in order to try and understand how so many people became infected.

Cuomo is among the governors who are vigorously opposing Donald Trump’s push to make states lift their coronavirus lockdowns and get their economies rolling again. The presidential guidelines recommend that restrictions begin to be gradually lifted after 14 days of declining cases of the disease are recorded.

The United States has by far the world’s largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 750,000 infections — a number that has doubled in 13 days. New cases on Saturday rose by nearly 29,000, the lowest increase in three days.

More than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in the past month as closures of businesses and schools and severe travel restrictions have hammered the economy.

Governors in U.S. states hardest hit by the coronavirus sparred with President Donald Trump over his claims they have enough tests and should quickly reopen their economies as more protests are planned over the extension of stay-at-home orders.

The region of Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. is still seeing increasing cases. New Jersey reported on Sunday that its new cases rose by nearly 3,900, the most in more than two weeks. Boston and Chicago are also emerging hot spots with recent surges in cases and deaths.

Trump insists that the states have done enough testing to prove the trend and start acting, but Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has called those claims “just absolutely false.” He was backed by his colleague from Virginia, Ralph Northam, who blasted the White House as being “delusional.”

However, several states, including Ohio, Texas and Florida, have announced plans to start lifting the quarantine from May 1, or even earlier, despite the difficult situation with Covid-19.

Header: The downtown New York City skyline looms over pedestrians wearing masks due to COVID-19 concerns, Friday, April 10, 2020, in Jersey City, NJ (AP Photo/John Minchillo)