US coronavirus cases top 200,000, death toll approaches 5,000

New York, Apr 1 (efe-epa).- Florida joined more than 30 other states Wednesday in issuing a stay-at-home order as the total number of Covid-19 cases in the United States surpassed 200,000, while the leader of the state that accounts for more than a third of the total said the peak of the outbreak in New York is four weeks away.

After long resisting demands to impose state-wide restrictions, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that he decided to impose the lockdown after consultations with President Donald Trump and the White House coronavirus task force.

The Sunshine State, with a population of 21 million, has nearly 7,000 confirmed cases and 85 deaths.

Most of the infections in Florida are in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, each of them home to busy international airports and cruise ship terminals.

All but 16 of the 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, have told people to stay home as much as possible, bringing the number of Americans under restriction to roughly 291 million, or roughly 89 percent of the population.

Florida has less than 10 percent the number of cases as New York state, which saw the number of infections climb to 83,712 on Wednesday and the death toll reach 1,941.

A day after the Trump administration cited an estimate that the number of fatalities nationwide from Covid-19 could range anywhere from 100,000 to 240,000, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo referred to figures from the Gates Foundation projecting 93,000 deaths in the US, including 16,000 in the Empire State, which has 19 million residents.

“What we’re looking at now is that the apex, the top of the curve, will happen at the end of April,” Cuomo said.

The model the state government is working from, developed by McKinsey & Company, indicates that while authorities can do nothing to hasten the peak and subsequent decline, New Yorkers can reduce the strain on the health care system by following the rules on social distancing.

Right now, the expectation is that the state will need 110,000 hospital beds and 75,000 ventilators to cope with the apex of the outbreak.

“That is our current model,” the governor said. “One of the great variables is, how effective is the social distancing? Are people complying with it?”

Exemplary compliance has the potential to reduce the number of required beds to 75,000 and cut the need for ventilators to 25,000, Cuomo told a press conference in Albany.

“In this war, we must plan forward for the next battle. The next battle is the apex, the next battle is the top of the mountain. That’s where the enemy either overwhelms our health care system, or we’re able to handle it,” the governor said.

Confirmed cases in the US exceeded 203,000 on Wednesday, according to the independent tallies maintained by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

The US, which last week became the first country to go above 100,000 infections, took just five days to pass the 200,000 threshold.

Italy is second overall in the number of cases with 110,574, but has the highest death toll, 13,155. Next on the list is Spain, with 102,136 cases and 9,053 fatalities, followed by China – where the pandemic began – with 82,361 cases and 3,316 dead.

Germany is No. 5 in terms of infections, 76,544, and has so far lost 858 lives to the novel coronavirus.

Within the US, New York City is far and away the hardest-hit metropolitan area, with 1,139 fatalities. Michigan’s Wayne County (Detroit) has reported 146 deaths, while 144 people have died in King County, Washington state, which includes Seattle.

New Orleans has suffered 101 deaths from Covid-19. EFE


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