US coronavirus deaths top 20 000, highest in world exceeding Italy: Reuters tally

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US deaths due to the coronavirus surpassed 20 000 on Saturday, the highest reported number in the world, according to a Reuters tally, although there are signs the pandemic might be nearing a peak.

Italy has the second most reported 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.

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 106 000.

As SABC News Correspondent Sherwin Bryce-Pease reports from New York, United States President Donald Trump has announced that he will set up a second coronavirus task force comprising health practitioners and business people:

Below is an infographic of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world: