New York, 27 March 2020 (dpa/MIA) – The United States on Thursday surpassed China and Italy to lead the world in reported coronavirus cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University researchers.
US cases topped 83,000, followed by China at over 81,000 and Italy at more than 80,000, according to the regularly updated data.
There have been more than 8,200 deaths in Italy, the European epicentre of the outbreak, more than 3,100 in China, where the virus originated, and more than 1,200 in the US.
The new numbers came as coronavirus hotspots appeared to be emerging outside New York state, the current epicentre of the outbreak.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said cases in his state surged 28 per cent on Thursday to 2,305, including 83 deaths.
In Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti warned Wednesday that the “worst days are still ahead.”
“The number of deaths is increasing,” New York Governor Cuomo said in a press briefing, adding that 100 people died overnight bringing his state’s total to 385 deaths and 37,258 confirmed cases.
Cuomo said deaths are expected to increase as patients on ventilators become more likely to die. “When you have older sicker patients who are staying on ventilators longer, they usually have a worse outcome.”
New York’s outbreak, which is predicted to worsen, came as jobless claims throughout the country soared to nearly 3.3 million over a one-week period, setting an all-time record in numbers released on Thursday.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump insisted that the country is successfully combatting the coronavirus, and cast doubt when asked about the US surpassing China in reported coronavirus cases.
“You don’t know what the numbers are in China,” Trump said in a press briefing.
“It’s one thing to have it. It’s another to die,” Trump added, apparently touting the lower US death toll compared to China.
In a letter to governors on Thursday, Trump said his administration will soon issue guidelines that classify states as high, medium or low risk to provide tailored recommendations on how to respond to the outbreak.
Trump previously said the country would largely reopen by April 12, despite warnings from public health officials and indications that the outbreak is becoming more severe.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday ordered all travellers arriving from New York and New Orleans to self-quarantine for 14 days in a sign of increasing domestic travel restrictions.
Lawmakers are rushing to pass a 2-trillion-dollar stimulus package, with a vote expected on Friday in the House of Representatives after the Senate passed the package late Wednesday.
The package will include direct payments of 1,200 dollars to many Americans and boosts to unemployment insurance among other sweeping economic measures.
Despite the massive spike in jobless claims, US markets rallied again on Thursday off the stimulus package, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 both increasing over six per cent.