Health workers load a deceased person into a trailer outside of the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York. Reuters
The number of coronavirus cases recorded in the United States surged past 500,000 late Friday, according to the latest tally by Johns Hopkins University.
The US has led the world in the number of infections since the end of March. With more than a third of all officially declared cases globally, it threatens to overtake Europe, which has recorded more than 850,000 cases.
Confirmed US cases of the COVID-19 illness caused by the virus have been rising by 30,000 to 35,000 cases a day as testing becomes more available. Globally, there have been over 1.6 million confirmed cases, with the death toll topping 100,000 on Friday.
US deaths topped 18,600 on Friday as officials warned that fatalities would likely peak this week as then decline as there was evidence that the number of new infections was flattening in New York state, the epicenter of the US outbreak.
With many Americans celebrating the Easter holiday on Sunday, the top US infectious disease expert warned that it is too early to relax restrictions on Americans.
"Now is no time to back off," Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
The social distancing guidelines have taken a toll on the US economy. Some economists are forecasting job losses of up to 20 million in April, raising questions about how long business closures and travel restrictions can be sustained. The Trump administration's top economic officials said on Thursday they believe the US economy could start to reopen for normal business in May.
Only Italy has more coronavirus deaths than the United States, with 18,849 fatalities reported on Friday, although it has a much smaller population. After a marked reduction from previous peaks, new infections have picked up in the past two days, frustrating hopes that the illness was in clear retreat.
Moscow and Lagos joined the roll call of cities around the world with empty streets, while Virginia and Maryland became the latest US states to announce stay-at-home orders, followed quickly by Washington DC.
With a total of 75,011 deaths from 909,673 infections, Europe is the hardest-hit continent in the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed at least 109,133 people worldwide. Europe's most affected country is Italy with 19,468 deaths, followed by Spain with 16,972, France with 13,832 and Britain with 9,875.
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Dassault was the eldest son of late French billionaire industrialist Serge Dassault, whose namesake Dassault Aviation , builds the Rafale war planes and owns Le Figaro newspaper.
It is International Women’s Day today. Let us express our gratitude to everyone across the globe who have either toiled or effortlessly promote for women’s emancipation and partnerships in all fronts since the 1900s.
Francis, on a historic first visit by a pope to Iraq, visited the northern city to encourage the healing of sectarian wounds and to pray for the dead of any religion.