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COVID-19: US death toll crosses 27,900

New York, April 16 (IANS) Nine states in the US, which has the worlds maximum coronavirus caseload, have emerged as outliers with less than 1,000 cases and less than 30 cases per day at a time when the countrys death toll soared beyond 27,900 and government relief checks began arriving in Americans bank accounts as the economic damage piled up.

Predictive models from the University of Washington, used by the White House, are projecting a peak death toll of more than 68,000 by August 2020 assuming full social distancing in place.

Laying out the latest data, White House coronavirus co-ordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said some states like California, Washington State and Oregon “never really had a peak”. Birx credited the blunted infection curves of these areas to strong and early mitigation efforts.

Meanwhile, hospitalizations and intubations from the outbreak are levelling off in New York, the epicenter of the US outbreak. On Tuesday, New York recorded 752 deaths sending the state total to more than 11,000 in just over a month.

Rhode Island and Providence, sandwiched between what Birx calls “two incredible hotspots”, are becoming new areas of concern.

Birx reminded the American people again about the highly contagious nature of the COVID19 virus and asked them to shun social gatherings.

“To all of you that are out there that would like to join together and just have that dinner party for 20, don’t do it yet”, she urged.

At the same briefing, US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue assured Americans that there is “plenty of food” for everyone in the country.

“I want to be clear, the bare store shelves that you may see in some cities in the country are a demand issue, not a supply issue”, he said.

US President Donald Trump is keen to open up the economy as soon as possible and Governors who disagree with Trump’s messaging are banding together to draft their own plans. Health experts around the world are warning more loudly than ever that halting social-distancing measures just when the infection curve is being blunted could result in a deadly second wave of the COVID-19 disease.

The trinity of testing at scale, isolation and contact tracing are essential for the economy to get back to some kind of functional place, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s most respected infectious diseases doctor on the White House task force.

The coronavirus pandemic began in China in 2019 and has killed nearly 127,000 people till date.

(Nikhila Natarajan can be contacted at @byniknat)

–IANS

nik/pgh

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