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U.S. Leads in Coronavirus Death Toll, as Trump Eyes Easing Restrictions in Weeks

HeadlineApr 13, 2020

The United States has the highest recorded COVID-19 death toll in the world, topping 22,000, after it surpassed Italy’s death toll on Saturday. All 50 states now have a disaster declaration in place for the first time in history. Over half a million cases have been identified nationwide, but testing remains limited, making the true number of cases unknown. Worldwide, there are over 1.8 million confirmed cases and over 115,000 deaths.

Over Easter weekend in the U.S., many churches and families held virtual celebrations, though some pastors defied social distancing guidelines to hold in-person gatherings.

President Trump appeared to boast about the nationwide disaster declaration Sunday, tweeting, “For the first time in history there is a fully signed Presidential Disaster Declaration for all 50 States. We are winning, and will win, the war on the Invisible Enemy!”

Meanwhile, a grim picture is emerging of the coronavirus’s impact on nursing homes, where over 2,200 deaths have been reported, though the true number is also expected to be much higher since many states either do not report this data or in some cases do not even track it.

Here in New York City, nearly 6,000 new cases over the past day has put the city’s total number of coronavirus infections at over 104,000, with over 9,300 deaths. Sunday was the sixth straight day in which more than 700 deaths were reported, though Governor Andrew Cuomo noted hospitalizations were down.
On Sunday, Trump reposted a tweet calling for the firing of White House coronavirus task force scientist Dr. Anthony Fauci after he acknowledged in an interview on CNN that adopting lockdown measures earlier on could have saved lives.

Dr. Anthony Fauci: “Obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated. But you’re right. I mean, obviously, if we had, right from the very beginning, shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different. But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then.”

On Friday, President Trump suggested he could order the reopening of the country as early as May 1.

President Donald Trump: “I will say this: I want to get it open as soon as we can. We have to get our country open, Jeff.”

Jeff Mason: “Will you say, sir, what metrics you will use to make that decision?”

President Donald Trump: “The metrics right here.”

He pointed to his head. The World Health Organization has warned against prematurely easing restrictions.

Meanwhile, dozens of tornadoes and severe storms have left a trail of damage in states including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia, as the southern United States grapples with the coronavirus outbreak. At least 14 people have been killed by the extreme weather.

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