US coronavirus deaths top 100,000

The US has passed 100,000 deaths in the coronavirus outbreak, figures from Johns Hopkins University show.

It has seen more deaths than any other country, while its 1.69 million confirmed infections account for about 30% of the worldwide total.

The first US infection surfaced in Washington state on 21 January.

Globally there have been 5.6 million people recorded as infected and 353,414 deaths since the virus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

With the US death toll currently at 100,047, BBC North America editor Jon Sopel says it is almost the same as the number of American servicemen and women killed in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan over 44 years of fighting.

Some hard-hit states like New York are seeing a drop in death rates, but 20 states reported a rise in new cases for the week ending on Sunday, according to a Reuters study.

New York City, President Donald Trump’s hometown, was especially hard hit by the virus – more than 21,000 of its residents have died so far.

During the peak of the crisis in the city, the daily death toll was in the hundreds. Hospitals were overwhelmed and makeshift morgues were built outside health facilities.

Nearly 39 million Americans have lost their jobs.

President Trump has insisted that without his administration’s actions the death toll would be far higher, though his critics have accused him of a slow response.

On Tuesday, he said the fatalities could have been 25 times higher.

Initially, the president downplayed the pandemic, comparing it to the seasonal flu. Back in February he said the US had the virus “under control” and that by April it could “miraculously go away”.

He predicted 50,000-60,000 deaths, then 60,000-70,000 and then “substantially under 100,000”.

Mr Trump also argued on 20 May it was “a badge of honour” that the US had the world’s highest number of confirmed infections “because it means our testing is much better”.

Currently, there is no vaccine for Covid-19. There is also no confirmed treatment for the disease, but there are several being tested.

The rising death toll comes as states across the US continue to move forward with reopening.

The world’s largest theme park, Walt Disney World in Florida, has plans to begin opening on 11 July, if the state governor allows it.

The Disney Springs entertainment centre in Orlando, which offers shopping and dining, is already open to a limited number of guests, with some Covid-19 rules in place, like mandatory masks.

Four Las Vegas casinos owned by MGM Resorts are also slated to reopen on 4 July. The company says employees will be tested for Covid-19 regularly.

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