News, Culture & Society

Confirmed coronavirus cases in US surpass 800,000 and death toll hits 42,940

Confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US surpassed 800,000 on Monday and recorded deaths reached nearly 43,000, latest statistics show.

The last 24 hours has seen an increase of nearly 30,000 new COVID-19 cases across the country, and another 1,080 Americans died from the virus – bringing the US death toll up to 42,940, the highest in the world.

But the ominous statistics could get worse before they get better, according to World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who warned Monday the worst is still to come.

‘Trust us. The worst is yet ahead of us,’ Ghebreyesus said during a news briefing. ‘Let’s prevent this tragedy. It’s a virus that many people still don’t understand.

Confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US surpassed 800,000 on Monday and recorded deaths reached nearly 43,000, latest statistics show

The last 24 hours has seen an increase of nearly 30,000 new COVID-19 cases across the country, with another 1,080 American's succumbing to the deadly illness - bringing the US death toll up to 42,940, the highest in the world

The last 24 hours has seen an increase of nearly 30,000 new COVID-19 cases across the country, with another 1,080 American’s succumbing to the deadly illness – bringing the US death toll up to 42,940, the highest in the world

‘Please let’s consider those who are dying as individuals, they are not numbers or figures. Even one life is precious,’ Ghebreyesus added.

Ghebreyesus didn’t specifically say why he believes the outbreak, that has infected some 2.5 million people globally and killed over 166,000, will likely get worse. He and others, however, have previously pointed to the likely future spread of the illness through Africa, where health systems are far less developed.

During the news briefing, Ghebreyesus compared the coronavirus pandemic to the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak, one of the deadliest pandemics in human history.

‘It has a very dangerous combination and this is happening in a hundred years for the first time again, like the 1918 flu that killed up to 100 million people,’ the WHO director-general said. ‘But now we have technology, we can prevent that disaster, we can prevent that kind of crisis.’

Ghebreyesus’s comments come after President Trump halted all US funding of WHO – of which the United States is biggest single donor – citing missteps in how the organization dealt with the early response to the pandemic.

Among other things, Trump insisted WHO had failed to adequately share ‘in a timely and transparent’ way information about the outbreak after it erupted in China late last year.

Ghebreyesus urged global solidarity and national unity in order to continue fighting the virus and help limit future deaths. The global community has to take the virus on as a ‘common enemy for humanity’ in order to defy it, he said.

Meanwhile in the US, Donald Trump announced Monday his plans to ban immigration into the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The ominous statistics are likely to continue to get much worse before they get better, according to World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who warned Monday the worst is still to come

The ominous statistics are likely to continue to get much worse before they get better, according to World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who warned Monday the worst is still to come

Meanwhile in the US, Donald Trump announced Monday his plans to ban immigration into the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile in the US, Donald Trump announced Monday his plans to ban immigration into the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The president tweeted Monday evening announcing his immigration plans

The president tweeted Monday evening announcing his immigration plans 

The president tweeted: ‘In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!’

At least 22 million Americans are now out of work as tough measures to control the coronavirus outbreak wiped out 13.5 percent of the workforce and 10 years of job growth.

In an address to the nation last month Trump announced a drastic ban on foreigners traveling to the United States from Europe. He had already banned travel from China as the COVID-19 outbreak was spreading from the city of Wuhan.

Exact details of this latest order were not immediately clear but migrant farm workers and medics are thought to be exempt, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The US-Canada border is already closed, most visa applications are on hold and the administration essentially shut down the nation’s asylum system last month.

The White House has not commented on Trump’s latest tweet but the order is likely to face legal challenges.

The president tweeted: 'In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!'

The president tweeted: ‘In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!’

At least 22 million Americans are now out of work as tough measures to control the coronavirus outbreak wiped out 13.5 percent of the workforce and 10 years of job growth

At least 22 million Americans are now out of work as tough measures to control the coronavirus outbreak wiped out 13.5 percent of the workforce and 10 years of job growth

The president also praised his own response to the coronavirus outbreak Monday, saying he’s likely to win re-election by a ‘landslide,’ while complaining that the poll numbers for his administration’s response to the pandemic should be higher.

‘A lot of people love Trump right? A lot of people love me. You see them all the time. I guess I’m here for a reason, you know. To the best of my knowledge I won. And I think we’re going to win again, I think we’re going to win in a landslide,’ Trump said.

The president had been asked by PBS Newshour’s Yamiche Alcindor if by downplaying the virus – for example, not wearing a mask – he got some people sick.

Alcindor spoke of an interview she had conducted with a person who said his family got sick ‘because they listened to you’ and didn’t take enough precautions.

Instead of answering the question head-on, Trump talked about his supporters and then pointed to his initial action on the coronavirus, a late-January travel ban from China, which excluded American citizens.

‘And yet in January, a certain date – you know the date better than I do – we put on a ban of China, where China can’t come in and before March we put on a ban of Europe, where Europe can’t come in,’ Trump said.

In February and March the president made a number of questionable statements about the spreading coronavirus and also continued actively campaigning through early March.

When Alcindor pointed out that the president was still holding campaign rallies – such as a March 2 rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, he wouldn’t admit that was the case.

‘I really don’t know about rallies. I really don’t know about rallies,’ he said when she insisted he was still campaigning in March. ‘I know one thing I haven’t left the White House in months,’ he said, adding that the one time he did leave the White House was for a trip to Norfolk, Virginia on March 28 to bid adieu to the USNS Comfort – the hospital ship heading to New York.

The president also praised his own response to the coronavirus outbreak Monday, saying he's likely to win re-election by a 'landslide,' while complaining that the poll numbers for his administration's response to the pandemic should be higher

The president also praised his own response to the coronavirus outbreak Monday, saying he’s likely to win re-election by a ‘landslide,’ while complaining that the poll numbers for his administration’s response to the pandemic should be higher

At another point in the briefing, Trump complained that poll numbers for his team’s coronavirus response weren’t higher.

‘Look, I don’t understand, when I see, uh, polling and approval ratings for the job,’ he said. ‘This group should get a 95, it really should. And we’re really helping the governors a lot.’

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who shared a call with president Trump over the weekend, unveiled plans Monday to allow some businesses shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic to reopen their doors by the end of the week, as the state sets its sights on easing lockdown restrictions and re-opening the local economy.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced on Monday that businesses across the majority of the state will begin reopening as early as next week.

And South Carolina’s governor is rolling out details of a program that his office says will allow the state’s economy to ‘recover more quickly than any other state’s in the country’ from the new coronavirus outbreak.

The moves are the latest indications that some states are forging ahead with plans to re-start economic activity despite the ongoing pandemic.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp unveiled plans Monday to allow some businesses shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic to reopen their doors by the end of the week, as the state sets its sights on easing lockdown restrictions and re-opening the local economy

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp unveiled plans Monday to allow some businesses shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic to reopen their doors by the end of the week, as the state sets its sights on easing lockdown restrictions and re-opening the local economy

Under Kemp’s orders, gyms, bowling alleys, salons, barbershops and a number of other indoor facilities that have been closed across the state since April 2 will be permitted to reopen this Friday.

Kemp warned, however, it ‘would not be business as usual’ as companies will only be able operate if they adhere to social distancing requirements, sanitation mandates, and meet other safety standards.

Restaurants, which have been banned from in-person dining since the shelter in place order was issued, will be allowed to reopen on April 27 along with movie theaters if they comply with guidelines Kemp’s office is set to release later this week. Bars and nightclubs will remain closed, though.

‘I don’t give a damn about politics now,’ Kemp said, announcing the plans outside the State Capitol Monday.

Kemp went on to say that his primary concern at the moment is Georgians ‘going broke worried about whether they can feed their children and make the mortgage payment.’

Lee, the Republican governor of Tennessee, says his mandatory safer-at-home order will expire on April 30, which will pave the way for 89 out of the state’s 95 counties to begin opening businesses.

However, Lee’s announcement does not apply to the state’s counties with the largest cities, including Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby and Sullivan counties — areas that are not overseen by Tennessee’s Department of Health but have their own public health districts.

‘While I am not extending the safer at home order past the end of April, we are working directly with our major metropolitan areas to ensure they are in a position to reopen as soon and safely as possible,’ Lee said.

Some businesses will be allowed to reopen as early as April 27, but it’s unclear exactly which ones will be granted such clearance.

Lee told reporters that such details would be finalized by his economy recovery team later this week. 

Georgia currently nearly 19,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 773 recorded deaths

Georgia currently nearly 19,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 773 recorded deaths

Most state parks will reopen on Friday.

‘It will be phased, it will be smart and it will be strategic,’ Lee said, stressing that the state’s economy cannot survive being locked down long-term.

Tennessee has seen nearly 324,000 claims for unemployment in the past weeks as a result of the virus forcing the closure of hundreds of business across the state.

Over the weekend, a handful of protesters gathered in Nashville and Chattanooga to urge officials to reopen the economy.

As of Monday, state officials said Tennessee had more than 7,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and at least 152 deaths.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster on Monday announced the details of ‘Accelerate South Carolina,’ which includes several key leaders in the state including mayors, presidents of institutions of higher learning, business owners and health care professionals.

The group is headed up by James Burns, an attorney and former Defense Department deputy legal counsel who also served as chief of staff to former Governor Nikki Haley.

Its first meeting is scheduled for Thursday, with plans to hold multiple sessions over the next 30 days.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (left) and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster (right) have also announced steps to gradually reopen their economies

McMaster has repeatedly stressed his desire for a swift, yet safe, reopening of the state’s economy, noting the severe toll the outbreak has had on individual workers and businesses.

Establishments including restaurants, bars, manufacturers, dentist offices and a number of others have closed for a variety of reasons, including mandatory orders from McMaster issued in an effort to stem the outbreak.

‘To do so too quickly would be reckless,’ the governor said last week, of resuming normal activity levels, noting several times he felt sure the economy would be ‘humming’ by the end of June.

During a media briefing, McMaster acknowledged that, even though the virus continues to spread, he saw it as crucial to both manage the outbreak and shore up the economy in hopes of avoiding disastrous, long-lasting effects.

‘We are still in a very serious situation,’ McMaster said. ‘People want to work, they need to work … and we’re going to do all that we can do to see that they can do that, and continue with their lives, as much as possible.’

Thus far, South Carolina public health officials have reported a total of more than 4,400 COVID-19 cases, which have resulted in 124 deaths statewide.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk