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US tops world in coronavirus cases overtaking China, Italy

NEW YORK: The United States now has more COVID-19 infections than any other country, even overtaking the number of cases in China and Italy, as the coronavirus crisis deepens around the world.
A tally by Johns Hopkins University showed there were almost 86,000 known infections in the US. That figure is higher than both China and Italy, which accounts for a third of the 24,000 deaths worldwide.
The crisis has led to a record number of newly unemployed people in the United States and researchers say the virus could kill at least 1.8 million people by the end of the year.
Hours after his nation reached the grim milestone, President Donald Trump spoke on phone with his Chinese Xi Jinping, after weeks of bickering and finger-pointing over the disease.
“Just finished a very good conversation with President Xi of China,” Trump tweeted.”China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!”
The warm words came after a few weeks in which the White House had repeatedly referred to “the Chinese coronavirus”, angering Beijing. These were not echoed in the Chinese state media readout of the call.
China has now banned entry to foreigners due to a surge in imported cases, showing the difficulty of containing a virus in an interconnected world. Wuhan, the city where the illness first emerged late last year, has announced to ease the lockdown in place for two months.
Healthcare systems in even the most developed nations are being stretched to breaking point with dire warnings they could soon be overwhelmed. More than 530,000 people globally have been sickened by the disease.
Leaders from the Group of 20 major economies held crisis talks by video link on Thursday as fears mount over a global recession that could even dwarf the Great Depression of the 1930s. They pledged a united front to fight the outbreak along with an enormous financial rescue package. “The virus respects no borders,” the leaders said in a statement.
“We are injecting over $5 trillion into the global economy, as part of targeted fiscal policy, economic measures, and guarantee schemes to counteract the social, economic and financial impacts of the pandemic.” They also pledged robust support for developing nations, where experts fear the coronavirus could wreak havoc.
Medical systems in even the most developed nations are straining under the weight of new patients. In New York, where tens of thousands are ill, Governor Andrew Cuomo warned there were simply not enough hospital beds. “Almost any scenario that is realistic will overwhelm the capacity of the current healthcare system,” he said.
The pandemic has already become catastrophic for the global economy. In the United States, the world’s largest economy, the Labour Department reported that 3.3 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, the highest number ever recorded.
Job losses have swept across sectors from food services to retail to transportation, as nearly half of the country has closed non-essential businesses. “It is staggering. We are only seeing the initial numbers; they will get worse, unfortunately,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said, estimating that half a million people in the city would lose work.
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