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Coronavirus infections top 575,000 worldwide as cases soar in the US

World News | Published:

In Europe, Italy recorded its single biggest 24-hour rise in deaths, with 969 more victims, to bring its total number of deaths to 9,134.

Covid-19 cases have topped more than 575,000 worldwide as a number of American states struggle to contain the virus and deaths surge in Italy and Spain.

While New York remained the worst hit city in the US, Americans braced for worsening conditions elsewhere, with worrisome infection numbers being reported in New Orleans, Chicago and Detroit.

“We are not through this. We’re not even half-way through this,” said Joseph Kanter of the Louisiana Department of Health, which has recorded more than 2,700 cases, more than five times what it had a week ago.

In New York, where there are more than 44,000 cases, the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 passed 6,000 on Friday, double what it had been three days earlier.

Governor Andrew Cuomo called for 4,000 more temporary beds across New York City, where the Jacob K Javits Convention Centre has already been converted into a hospital.

US President Donald Trump, after earlier rejecting Mr Cuomo’s pleas for tens of thousands more ventilators, and the governor’s calls to use the Korean War-era Defence Production Act, invoked the law on Friday, ordering General Motors to begin manufacturing the breathing machines.

Donald Trump in the Oval Office
Donald Trump has signed a coronavirus stimulus relief package (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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The US passed 100,000 confirmed cases, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University. Italy, the US and China account for nearly half the world’s more than 585,000 infections and more than half of the roughly 26,000 reported virus deaths.

Dr John Brooks of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention warned Americans remained “in the acceleration phase” of the pandemic and that all corners of the country are at risk.

“There is no geographic part of the United States that is spared from this,” he said.

In a phone call on Friday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping told Mr Trump that China “stands ready to provide support within its capacity,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

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Mr Trump, who has repeatedly referred to the outbreak as a “Chinese virus” struck a different tone on Friday, tweeting after the call that “China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!”

In Europe, Italy recorded its single biggest 24-hour rise in deaths, with 969 more victims, to bring its total number of deaths to 9,134. The country now has more than 86,000 cases, surpassing China to record the grim distinction of the second-most infections in the world, behind the US.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella called it “a sad page in our history”.

Coffins being transported in Italy
Coffins being transported in Italy (Claudio Furlan/LaPresse via AP)

Spain, with the world’s fourth-biggest number of cases, reported another 7,800 infections for a total of more than 64,000. The country said health workers accounted for about 15% of its cases.

Deaths in Spain climbed past 4,900 – the world’s second-highest total after Italy.

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