The US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 5,000 late Wednesday, according to a running tally from Johns Hopkins University.
Till now 5,116 people had died, the tally showed, on the same day the United States set a one-day record of 884 people killed in 24 hours.
The US death toll is lower than those of Italy and Spain but above the 3,316 recorded for China, where the pandemic first emerged in December.
According to Johns Hopkins, the US leads the world in number of cases of new coronavirus, with 215,417.
President Donald Trump, who earlier had downplayed the pandemic’s impact on the US, said Wednesday that “we’re going to have a couple of weeks, starting pretty much now, but especially a few days from now, that are going to be horrific.”
Last Sunday, senior US scientist Anthony Fauci issued a cautious prediction that the novel corona virus could claim 100,000 to 200,000 lives in the country.
With over 220,000 people infected in the U.S. and the death toll topping 5,300, sobering preparations were under way. The Federal Emergency Management Agency asked the Pentagon for 100,000 body bags because of the possibility funeral homes will be overwhelmed, the military said.
The Democratic Party pushed its nominating convention back a month, to mid-August. And federal authorities proposed a $611,000 fine against the Seattle-area nursing home connected to at least 40 coronavirus deaths, accusing it of infractions that included failure to report and rapidly manage the outbreak.
Meanwhile The competition for ventilators, masks and other vital supplies was cutthroat. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo warned that the State is quickly running out of breathing machines.
“At the current burn rate, we have enough ventilators for six days. But we need this like now. Not talking about two months, three months, four months,” he said, adding that, “We need these materials now.”
The Governor has complained that the 50 States are competing against each other for protective gear and breathing machines, or are being outbid by the federal government, in a competition he likened to being on eBay. In France, a top health official in the country’s hard-hit eastern region said American officials swooped in at a Chinese airport to spirit away a planeload of masks that France had ordered.