More than 500 people died of the coronavirus in the United States on Monday, the single most deadly day in the battle against the outbreak, and President Donald Trump called for vigorous adherence to social-distancing guidelines over the next 30 days when the country will be “putting all on the line”.
The president also sought to address concerns about the availability of essential medical supplies needed to test and treat patients and protect healthcare workers. He said the US will be in “a good shape” when the death rate is expected to peak in two weeks, specially as regards the availability of ventilators.
The United States has ramped up acquisition of supplies at home, through stepped up production by American companies and purchases abroad, as complaints of shortages persisted, especially in hotspots such as New York state and city, New Jersey, Washington, and those potentially on the edge.
The US coronavirus fatalities went up to 3,170, registering a jump of more than 575 over the previous day that has been the highest single-day deaths yet. The toll is also now more than the nearly 3,000 killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as was widely noted in US media.
The total number of confirmed cases is more than 164,000, an increase of nearly 24,000 over Monday; and the US, which has the most cases in the world, now accounts for a fifth of global infections, which was up to 803,000. New York state remains the worst hit with 67,000 cases and 1,342 deaths, up by 377; New York City alone had 914 fatalities. New York has invited doctors and healthcare professionals from other parts of the country to help with the situation in the state, saying they will reciprocate when the time comes in other hotspots, such as Detroit and New Orleans, which are emerging as new areas of concern.
“Challenging times are ahead for the next 30 days, and this is a very vital 30 days,” Trump said at a White House briefing on the outbreak, referring to the extended period of social-distancing guideline, during which the administration also expects the death-rate to peak. “We’re sort of putting it all on the line, this 30 days.”
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 its top experts to warn of between 100,000 to 200,000 deaths, even if, as Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House task force, said everything was done “perfectly”.
It wasn’t clear if new measures could be announced as well, but the Washington Post reported Monday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering recommending people use masks when they step out. Though it’s not final yet, the CDC could require people to not to use medical masks that are in short supply, and use do-it-yourself cloth covering.
The administration has stepped up acquisition and availability of supplies as complaints of shortages persist — of masks, gowns and protective gear for healthcare providers, and equipment needed for the treatment of severely ill coronavirus patients, such as ventilators.
President Trump has tried to address questions about shortages at his daily briefings, especially of ventilators. “Yes, I do think so. I think we’re going to be in very good shape,” he said in response to a question if America will have enough for its people when the death-rate peaks in two weeks.
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