US Death Toll Overtakes Italy's as Midwest Braces

America has over 19,700 deaths so far
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 11, 2020 1:30 PM CDT
US Death Toll Overtakes Italy's as Midwest Braces
In this Monday, March 9, 2020 file photo, a man wears a mask as he walks past the New York Stock Exchange, amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

The US death toll from the coronavirus eclipsed Italy's for the highest in the world Saturday at more than 19,700, as Chicago and other cities across the Midwest braced for a potential surge in victims and moved to snuff out smoldering hot spots of contagion before they erupt, the AP reports. With the New York area still deep in crisis, fear mounted over the spread of the scourge into the nation’s heartland. Twenty-four residents of an Indiana nursing home hit by COVID-19 have died, while a nursing home in Iowa saw 14 deaths. Chicago's Cook County has set up a temporary morgue that can take more than 2,000 bodies. And Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been going around telling groups of people to "break it up."

The outbreak’s center of gravity has long since shifted from China to Europe and the US, which now has by far the largest number of confirmed cases—a half-million—and a death toll higher than Italy's count of nearly 19,500, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. The death rate—that is, the number of dead relative to the population—is still far higher in Italy than in US, which has more than five times as many people. And worldwide, the true numbers of dead and infected are believed to be much higher because of testing shortages, different counting practices and concealment by some governments. New York state on Saturday reported 783 more deaths, for a total over 8,600. "What do we do now?" asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "We stay the course."
(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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