US death toll tops 40,000 as anti-lockdown protests continue, Latest World News - The New Paper

US death toll tops 40,000 as anti-lockdown protests continue

This article is more than 12 months old

As state governors spar with US President over testing, thousands demonstrate against stay-home orders

UNITED STATES: The US death toll from the coronavirus rose to more than 40,000 on Sunday, the highest in the world and almost double the number of deaths in the next highest country, Italy, according to a Reuters tally.

It took the US 38 days after recording its first fatality on Feb 29 to reach 10,000 deaths on April 6, but only five more days to reach 20,000 dead.

The US toll increased to 40,000 from 30,000 in four days after including untested but probable Covid-19 deaths reported by New York City.

The US has by far the world's largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 750,000 infections - a number that has doubled in 13 days. New cases on Saturday rose by nearly 29,000, the lowest increase in three days.

More than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in the past month as closures of businesses and schools and severe travel restrictions have hammered the economy.

Governors in US states hardest hit by the coronavirus sparred with President Donald Trump over his claims they have enough tests and should quickly reopen their economies.

But the region of Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC is still seeing increasing cases.

New Jersey reported on Sunday that its new cases rose by nearly 3,900, the most in more than two weeks.

Boston and Chicago are also emerging hot spots with recent surges in cases and deaths.

In New York, the US epicentre of the pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo, along with other governors, is clamouring for more tests to detect new infections as well as to test for immunity as part of their plans to reopen their states.

Republican Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland during a CNN interview said claims by Mr Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence that states have plenty of tests were "just absolutely false".


Democratic Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia told CNN the idea states have enough tests was "delusional".

Several states, including Ohio, Texas and Florida, have said they aim to reopen parts of their economies, perhaps by May 1 or even sooner, but appeared to be staying cautious.

Others in the US have had enough of lockdowns.

Several hundred protested in several US states on Saturday.

On Sunday they numbered more than 2,500 in Washington state. Most were not wearing masks.

They rallied at the Washington state capitol in Olympia to protest against Democratic Governor Jay Inslee's stay-at-home order, defying a ban on gatherings of 50 or more people.

Despite pleas from rally organisers to wear face coverings or masks as public health authorities recommend, many did not.

"Shutting down businesses by picking winners and losers in which there are essential and non-essential are violations of the state and federal constitution," rally organiser Tyler Miller, 39, an engineer from Bremerton, Washington, told Reuters.

In Denver, hundreds of people gathered at the state capitol to demand the end to Colorado's shutdown.

As protesters clogged streets with cars, healthcare workers in scrubs and face masks stood at intersections in a counter-protest. - REUTERS