The Slatest

U.S. Overtakes Italy as Country With Most Confirmed Coronavirus Deaths

Medical workers take in patients at a special coronavirus intake area at Maimonides Medical Center on April 11, 2020 in the Borough Park neighborhood of New York City.
Medical workers take in patients at a special coronavirus intake area at Maimonides Medical Center on April 11, 2020 in the Borough Park neighborhood of New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The United States reached a grim milestone Saturday as it surpassed Italy in the total number of confirmed deaths from the coronavirus with the total toll reaching past the 20,000-mark, higher than the 19,468 in Italy. At least 2,074 deaths were reported in the United States Friday, which is the largest number since the beginning of the outbreak. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the daily number of deaths is stabilizing “but stabilizing at a horrific rate” as the state reported 783 additional deaths Saturday for a total of more than 8,600. The Midwest, meanwhile, was bracing itself for a potential uptick in patients.

Although the U.S. became home to the deadliest outbreak of the coronavirus when raw numbers are taken into account, as a proportion of the total population virus deaths remain far lower considering the U.S. population is five times larger than Italy’s. The virus has killed around 32 individuals per 100,000 people in Italy compared to six per 100,000 people in the United States. Globally, more than 100,000 people have died from the coronavirus although the real number is thought to be much higher.

Estimates of how many people could die of COVID-19 in the United States have been declining a bit lately as experts say stringent social distancing measures appear to be having at least some effect. A forecast by the University of Washington claims there could be 60,000 COVID-19 deaths across the country, which is far lower than the 100,000 to 200,000 deaths the White House had been talking about weeks ago. “The real data are telling us that it is highly likely that we’re having a definite positive effect by this mitigation things that we’re doing— this physical separation¸—so I believe we are gonna see a downturn in that,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said earlier this week. As some begin talking about the potential to reopen economies the World Health Organization has warned that premature action could lead to a “deadly resurgence” of COVID-19.