Coronavirus has killed more Americans than Vietnam War
US death toll has reached 58,233, while infections pass one million
WASHINGTON : The US death toll from the coronavirus on Tuesday exceeded the 58,220 American lives lost in the Vietnam War as infections topped one million, according to a Reuters tally.
US cases have doubled in 18 days and make up one-third of all infections in the world, according to the tally.
The actual number of cases is thought to be higher, with state public health officials cautioning that shortages of trained workers and materials have limited testing capacity.
About 30 per cent of the cases have occurred in New York state, the epicentre of the US outbreak, followed by New Jersey, Massachusetts, California and Pennsylvania.
The US death toll since the first death recorded on Feb 29 reached 58,233 on Tuesday, up more than 2,000 from the prior day.
The outbreak could take more than 74,000 US lives by Aug 4, compared with an April 22 forecast of over 67,600, according to the University of Washington's predictive model, often cited by White House officials.
US President Donald Trump said yesterday the US reported more than a million coronavirus infections only because of its testing, hailing the effort as being "much better than any other country in the world".
The Twitter comments came amid warnings from state public health officials that shortages of trained workers and materials have limited testing capacity.
"The only reason the US has reported one million cases of coronavirus is that our testing is sooo (sic) much better than any other country in the world," Mr Trump said on Twitter.
"Other countries are way behind us in testing, and therefore show far fewer cases."
There is rising pressure to boost testing capacity, and health officials flagged the challenge of getting tests to those who need them most.
"One of the problems has been in the tests getting to the people who need them," US infectious diseases expert and health official Anthony Fauci told CNN on Tuesday.
Dr Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said every American in need of a virus test should be able to get one by the end of May or the beginning of June.
In a separate development, the decade of US economic expansion ended dramatically in the first quarter. Gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 4.8 per cent, according to government data yesterday.
It was the biggest decline in GDP in 12 years, as the pandemic forced businesses to close, halting purchases and investment, the US Commerce Department reported.
"The economy is in free fall, we could be approaching something much worse than a deep recession," said business economics professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles Sung Won Sohn.
"It is premature to talk about a recovery at this moment, we are going to be seeing a lot of bankruptcies for small and medium-sized businesses." - REUTERS, AFP