The United States is quickly becoming the new epicenter of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as new infections soared and citizens filing for unemployment skyrocketed to a historic high.
Hospitals increasingly have reported being overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases and 40 percent of Americans are under lockdown orders, although a buoyant Wall Street recouped more of the month’s massive losses as the nation’s Congress moved forward on a $2 trillion rescue package.
More than 100 people died in the past day in virus hotbed New York, where a long line of people, most in masks and standing three feet (a meter) apart, snaked outside the Elmhurst hospital in Jackson Heights under police watch as they waited to be tested.
The number of deaths caused by the novel coronavirus reached the grim threshold of 1,000 by late Wednesday and on Thursday the country had 69,246 confirmed cases, according to a Johns Hopkins University database. New York accounts for 385 deaths.
The number of infections is just below hardest-affected Italy and China, where the virus was first detected last year in the metropolis of Wuhan.
While fatalities remain higher elsewhere, experts say new infection numbers show that more Americans will die — and the true number of cases could be much higher than the official figure due to shortages of test kits.