US death toll now highest in the world

Foreign Desk Report

WASHINGTON: US deaths due to the coronavirus surpassed 19,600 on Saturday, the highest reported number in the world, according to a media tally, although there are signs the pandemic might be nearing a peak.
Italy the first to surpass death toll in China, where the virus was first reported has the second most deaths at 19,468 and Spain is in third place with 16,353. The United States has five times the population of Italy and nearly seven times the population of Spain. The United States has seen its highest death tolls to date in the epidemic with roughly 2,000 deaths a day reported for the last four days in a row.
Public health experts have warned that the US death toll could spike to 200,000 over the summer if unprecedented stay-at-home orders that have closed businesses and kept most Americans indoors are lifted after 30 days.
Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases detected in the United States rose past half a million over the Easter weekend.
The stay-at-home orders imposed in recent weeks across 42 of the 50 states have taken a huge toll on American commerce, with some economists forecasting job losses of up to 20 million by month’s end, raising questions about how long business closures and travel restrictions can be sustained.
Globally, there have been more than 1.6 million confirmed cases, with the death toll surpassing 103,000.
The two top Republicans in the U.S. Congress vowed on Saturday to oppose Democrats’ demands to boost a proposed $250 billion bill to aid small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic by adding money for hospitals and state and local governments.
The statement from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House of Representatives Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy came a day after top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin planned to hold bipartisan talks on the bill next week.
“American workers are in crisis,” McConnell and McCarthy said. “This will not be Congress’s last word on COVID-19, but this crucial program needs funding now. American workers cannot be used as political hostages.” Congress and the White House are scrambling to stem the economic fallout of the new coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 respiratory disease that has killed more than 19,600 Americans, closed schools, business and most public activities and thrown more than 15 million people out of work.
Senate Republicans on Thursday failed to ram through a $250 billion increase in loans for small businesses suffering due to the outbreak. Democrats support the $250 billion in new funding but want to set aside some of the lending for community and minority-owned banks.
The $250 billion in small-business loans, which could turn into government-paid grants if certain terms are met, would be in addition to $349 billion already allocated by Congress in a $2.3 trillion relief measure passed last month. Some Congressional Republicans are against the second batch of funding, calling it premature.