Over a quarter of the world’s coronavirus deaths are in the United States
Less than three months since the first known coronavirus death in the US, the country’s fatalities make up more than quarter of the global death toll.
Nearly 52,000 Americans have died from the virus so far — a number that increases daily as a result of new fatalities and states reviewing previous deaths that had not been tied to the disease.
The virus has killed at least 197,000 people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.
In the US, limited testing in early February was part of the reason California officials did not count two earlier deaths as coronavirus-related. This week, they confirmed the two victims — a 57-year-old woman who died February 6 and a 69-year-old man who died February 17– are the earliest known US victims.
New efforts by some states to trace more cases will give officials a better idea of the magnitude of the pandemic in the country. That, in addition to testing — which experts say is still not where it needs to be.
More testing needed: The US has conducted about 5.1 million tests but Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading epidemiologist, said this week the nation needs to increase testing. Two new reports from public health experts and economists highlight that in order to safely reopen states, the country needs to conduct millions of tests per week.
And as health officials race to get the virus under control, state leaders are setting the date they’ll begin reopening their economies — decisions that President Donald Trump has said are entirely up to governors.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday opened some businesses, including barber shops and hair salons, tattoo parlors, gyms and bowling alleys. The state has recorded more than 22,491 infections and at least 899 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.