The coronavirus pandemic has now claimed the lives of at least 50,000 people in the United States, a staggering and bleak milestone as the nation continues to battle the outbreak.
The exact number of confirmed deaths related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, is 50,031 as of Friday, according to coronavirus data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. More than 10,000 of those deaths come from outbreaks in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, according to data compiled by The Associated Press from state health departments and media reports.
The U.S. had recorded 879,468 COVID-19 cases as of Friday, according to the same data. About a third of those come from New York, which has also experienced the highest number of deaths compared with any other state, at nearly 21,000. About 78% of those deaths were in New York City.
Despite being home to about 4% of the world’s population, the U.S. now accounts for about a third of all confirmed coronavirus cases and more than a quarter of all deaths. The nation’s death toll is more than twice as high as Spain’s, the country with the second-most virus-related deaths in the world.
The milestone comes as several states grapple with when and how to best reopen their economies in a way that won’t cause another wave of coronavirus cases. While many states are seeing the number of cases level off or decrease after placing restrictions on social interaction, governors in states including Tennessee, Texas and Georgia have begun easing mitigation efforts.
Health experts have warned that it may be too soon to lift restrictions without sparking a new wave of infections. They recommend that states meet key benchmarks before lifting restrictions that were aimed to slow the spread of the virus, such as instituting widespread contact tracing ― which involves finding and then testing people who have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
About 26 million Americans have now applied for unemployment in the five weeks since the outbreak began forcing employers across the country to close their doors and lay off or furlough workers. About 1 in 6 Americans have now lost their jobs since mid-March, the worst string of layoffs on record that has tanked the U.S. economy into the worst crisis since the Great Depression.
Congress recently passed a nearly $500 billion coronavirus relief package meant to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program, which is supposed to support small businesses and provide emergency funding for hospitals. The original PPP funding that was established in the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package enacted about a month ago ran dry after less than two weeks.
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