America’s death toll from the new Corona virus outbreak has exceeded the 5,000 mark according to figures from Johns Hopkins university. The country’s death toll stands at 5,138 after 884 people died over the course of 24 hours. The U.S. has suffered the third greatest loss of life during the Covid-19 pandemic, behind Italy and Spain, but more than China. The latest victims include a six week old baby. Reserves of protective equipment and medical supplies are almost exhausted. Further restrictions on movement are being considered in the U.S. to curb the spread of the virus.
“Difficult days are ahead for our nation, we are going to have a couple of weeks, starting pretty how much, but especially a few days from now that are going to be horrific”. President Trump said. He also warned of trying times to come while acknowledging that the federal stockpile of personal protective equipment and medical supplies is nearly depleted. New York has been hit hardest by the virus, having so far reported 1,374 deaths. Images show bodies being loaded onto refrigerated morgue trucks outside over whelmed hospitals.
“This is going to be an epic process during the month of April to build out all the capacity, but this goal can be reached”. New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio said. He also said the city is in discussion with hotels as part of effort to add 65,000 additional hospital beds by the end of the month. The Trump administration says it can acquire adequate supplies, and has $16 billion available to do so. State and local officials have complained about insufficient protective equipment such as masks and gowns as well as ventilators, needed to help keep patients breathing.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has meanwhile told police to enforce rules more aggressively for social distancing amidst the city’s spiraling outbreak. “young people must get this message, and they have still not gotten the message. You still see too many situations with too much density by young people” he added. After Florida, Georgia and Mississippi because the largest U.S. states to order people to stay at home, more than 75% of the country’s population is now under lockdown. But despite these measures, white house medical experts have forecast that some 100,000 to 240,000 people could still die from the disease.
In Florida, Governor Ron Desantis softened his stance banning two cruise ships hit with Corona virus from docking in the state. He had been adamant that the ships should not land passengers at fort Lauderdale, but now said the decision was up to local authorities. Other clusters are flaring up in places like Detroit. In New Orleans, Ellis Marsalis jr, a jazz pianist, teacher and father of musicians Branford and Whynton Marsalis, became the latest high profile figure to die from complications caused by Covid-19.
“While we are practicing as a city, social distancing, you may have multiple families living in a very small apartment. And so its easy to understand why there’s a lot of transmission of Covid occurring”, said Dr Michelle katz, head of New York city health hospitals.
Meanwhile, U.S. vice president Mike Pence warned the U.S. appeared to be on a similar trajectory as Italy where the death toll has exceeded 13,000.
The real figures in the U.S. are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages. There have been 3,415 deaths in the U.S. from the virus, the Baltimore based university reported, more than the 3,309 in China.