The number of deaths in the United States linked to the novel coronavirus topped 15 000 on Thursday, but officials said that despite the grim tallies, there are signs the pandemic might be nearing its peak in the cities hardest hit early on in the crisis.
More than 451 000 people across the US have been infected with the coronavirus, with more than 15 900 dead, according to Johns Hopkins University.
New York state had 7 067 deaths and 159 937 total cases. That caseload is more than any country in the world has reported to date, according to Johns Hopkins. New York City itself had 87 028 total cases and 5 280 fatalities.
New York’s death toll alone is 44% of America’s. A bad flu season in New York state kills about 1,900 people a year. COVID-19 has done that in just the last three days.
US officials had warned Americans to expect alarming numbers of coronavirus deaths this week, even as an influential university model on Wednesday scaled back its projected US pandemic death toll by 26% to 60 000.
“We are in the midst of a week of heartache”, - the Vice President Mike Pence said during a White House briefing, but added, “we are beginning to see glimmers of hope”.
US deaths set new daily records on Tuesday and Wednesday with over 1 900 new deaths reported each day.
Only Italy has more deaths with 18 279. Spain reported 15 238 deaths as of Thursday.