US virus cases top 92,000 as Congress debates £1.8 trillion emergency package

US virus cases top 92,000 as Congress debates £1.8 trillion emergency package

A surge in coronavirus infections has taken the US total over 92,000 amid warnings that the pandemic is accelerating in cities like New York, Chicago and Detroit.

The update came as a record 2.2 trillion dollar (£1.8 trillion) emergency package neared final approval by Congress to help millions of newly unemployed Americans and struggling companies.

The situation in countries with more fragile health care systems grew more dire on Friday. Russia, Indonesia and South Africa all passed the 1,000-infection mark and South Africa began a three-week lockdown.

India launched a massive programme to help feed day labourers after a lockdown of the country’s 1.3 billion people put them out of work.

Migrant daily wage labourers leaving New Delhi (Manish Swarup/AP)
Migrant daily wage labourers leaving New Delhi (Manish Swarup/AP)

The US and Italy have passed China’s number of infections. The three countries account for 46% of the world’s nearly 540,000 infections and more than half of its acknowledged deaths.

Analysts warned that all infection figures could be low for varying reasons.

“China numbers can’t be trusted because the government lies,” said American political scientist Ian Bremmer, president of the Euraisa Group think-tank. “US numbers can’t be trusted because the government can’t produce enough tests.”

The worldwide death toll climbed to more than 25,000, according to Johns Hopkins University, but more than 127,000 people have recovered, about half in China.

New York state, the epicentre of the US outbreak, reported 100 more deaths in one day, accounting for almost 30% of the 1,300 fatalities nationwide. Governor Andrew Cuomo said the number of deaths will increase soon as critically ill patients who have been on ventilators for days succumb.

The White House’s coronavirus response co-ordinator, Deborah Birx, said counties in the Mid West around Chicago and Detroit are seeing a rapid increase in cases.

The Capitol in Washington
The Capitol in Washington (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Washington DC, confirmed 36 new cases, raising its total to 267. The district is under a state of emergency with major attractions closed and White House and Capitol tours cancelled.

Russian authorities ramped up testing this week after widespread criticism of insufficient screening.

The stay-home order for India’s 1.3 billion people threw out of work the backbone of the nation’s economy — rickshaw drivers, fruit sellers, cleaners and others who buy food with their daily earnings. The government announced an £18 billion stimulus to deliver monthly rations to 800 million people.

In China, where the virus is believed to have started, the National Health Commission reported 55 new cases, 54 of them imported infections. Again there were no new cases reported in Wuhan, the provincial capital where coronavirus first emerged in December. China is barring most foreigners from entering.

In a phone call on Friday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping told US President Donald Trump that China “understands the United States’ current predicament over the Covid-19 outbreak and stands ready to provide support within its capacity”.

The two countries should “work together to boost co-operation in epidemic control and other fields, and develop a relationship of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win co-operation”, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.


More in this Section

Dominic Cummings has made ‘mockery’ of public health advice, say expertsDominic Cummings has made ‘mockery’ of public health advice, say experts

Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings say coronavirus affected their eyesightBoris Johnson and Dominic Cummings say coronavirus affected their eyesight

Memorial Day like no other for Americans under coronavirus restrictionsMemorial Day like no other for Americans under coronavirus restrictions

Trump honours fallen soldiers on Memorial DayTrump honours fallen soldiers on Memorial Day


Lifestyle

The phrase “dupe”, short for duplicate, is used in online beauty communities to signify that a product is similar to a more expensive counterpart.The Skin Nerd: Products with star power, without the Hollywood price tag

Struggling to stick to your work routine at home? You’re not alone.10 tips for greater productivity working from home

Relaxing the rules at home has helped Karen Koster and her young family to get through lockdown, says Helen O'CallaghanEasy does it: Relaxing home rules the 'perfect tonic for kids'

Parents who homeschool must feel very confident of their choice these days, surely this global event will add to their number even after schools reopen. Their pioneering spirit isGet the Look: The eco-friendly beauty products you need to buy now

More From The Irish Examiner