The coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday infected more than 800,000 people all over the world, with the global death toll crossing 40,000. The twin developments came as the total number of deaths in the US surpassed China’s toll of 3,305.
The US, Italy, Spain, China and Germany are now the five most affected countries in terms of number of confirmed cases.
The US death toll, which has now touched 3,400, is more than the nearly 3,000 people killed in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Close to 175,000 have been infected across the US.
More than 575 people died in the US on Monday, the deadliest single day toll in the country’s battle against the outbreak, and President Donald Trump called for vigorous adherence to social-distancing guidelines over the next 30 days.
The US president also sought to address concerns about the availability of essential medical supplies needed to test and treat patients and protect health care workers. He said the US will be in “a good shape” when the death rate is expected to peak in two weeks when it comes to the availability of ventilators.
The US has ramped up acquisition of supplies at home, through stepped up production by American companies and purchases abroad, as complaints of shortages persisted, specially in hot spots such as New York state, New Jersey, Washington and those other states that are potentially on the edge.
New York state remains the worst hit, with more than 67,000 cases and at least 1,300 deaths; New York City alone had 914 fatalities at one stage.
“Challenging times are ahead for the next 30 days, this is a very vital 30 days,” Trump said at a White House briefing, referring to the extended period of social-distancing guideline, during which the administration also fears the death-rate to peak.
While the existing social-distancing guidelines will remain in place for this period, the administration is expected to release its strategy going forward on Tuesday, along with data and findings that have been used by its top experts to warn of between 100,000 to 200,000 deaths.
It wasn’t clear if new measures could be announced as well, but The Washington Post reported on Monday that the CDC is considering recommending people use masks when they step out.
Across the border, the Canadian government is preparing to mobilise nearly 24,000 troops to assist in the effort to contain the pandemic, even as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pointedly said the country was on a different “trajectory” from the spread of the disease in the US.