US sets new record with 1,480 virus deaths in 24 hrs
Britain set for long lockdown as death toll rises to 4,313
NEW YORK/ LONDON: The United States recorded nearly 1,500 deaths from COVID-19 between Thursday and Friday, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, the worst 24-hour death toll globally since the pandemic began.
With 1,480 deaths counted between 8:30pm (0030 GMT) Thursday and the same time Friday, according to the universitys continuously updated figures, the total number of people who have died since the start of the pandemic in the United States is now 7,406.
Surging deaths in New York City and New Orleans showed that a wave of lethal coronavirus infections expected to overwhelm hospitals, even in relatively affluent, urban areas with extensive healthcare systems, has begun to crash down on the United States.
Governors, mayors and physicians have voiced alarm for weeks over crippling scarcities of personal protective gear for first-responders and front-line healthcare workers, as well as ventilators and other medical supplies.
With the federal government’s national strategic stockpile of such equipment nearly depleted, states have been forced essentially to compete against each other on the open market for vital resources.
Cities across the country have also scrambled to expand hospital capacity and recruit healthcare professionals out of retirement to meet looming shortages of sick beds and personnel.
New York City, the pandemic’s US epicenter, has mere days to prepare for the worst of the outbreak, said Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose city has suffered more than a quarter of the 7,000-plus coronavirus deaths to date nationwide.
New York is in an “extraordinary race against time,” de Blasio told a news briefing on Friday, renewing his call for the federal government to mobilise the US military.
Britain is unlikely to lift its stringent lockdown rules until the end of May, once the spread of the coronavirus has started to slow, a leading government adviser said on Saturday as the death toll rose to 4,313.
The government has put Britain into a widespread shutdown, closing pubs, restaurants and nearly all shops, while ordering people to stay home unless absolutely essential to venture out.
The order is designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country, which has almost 42,000 confirmed cases. But some experts have started to question whether the shuttering of the economy will cost more lives in the long run. – Agencies