US coronavirus deaths highest in the world even as hospitalizations slow in New York epicenter

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Medical workers in a Monut Sinai ambulance respond to a call in the Financial District of New York, on Monday, March 30, 2020.

Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The United States surpassed Italy on Saturday as the country with the most coronavirus deaths in the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

At least 18,860 people have died from the virus in the U.S. Italy has suffered 18,849 fatalities; Spain has recorded at least 16,353 deaths; and France has confirmed 13,197 deaths. 

The coronavirus had infected more than 500,000 people in the U.S. as of Friday night, constituting almost one-third of all cases across the globe, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The virus, which emerged in December, has since spread to more than 1.5 million people in almost every country around the world. On Friday, the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus worldwide passed the 100,000 mark. 

Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Saturday said hospitalizations seemed to be plateauing in New York state, the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States. During a press conference Saturday, he said 783 people died of the virus in New York on Friday, bringing the state’s death toll to 8,627. 

“The number of hospitalizations appears to have hit an apex, and the apex appears to be a plateau,” he said. “The hospitalization rate is down, and that’s important. We have more people getting infected still, we have more people going into the hospital, but we have a lower number… Fewer people are going into the hospitals, still net positive.” 

As of 1 p.m. Saturday, New York state had at least 174,489 confirmed cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Cuomo said the number of deaths in the state is stabilizing, but stabilizing “at a horrific rate.” Looking at three-day averages, he said “all the numbers are on the downward slope.” Though people are still getting infected and going into hospitals, he said they’re doing so at a lower rate. 

For ICU admissions, Cuomo said the three-day average is down, but said that figure might be misleading because where ICU sections were previously specified sections of a hospital, now entire hospitals are operating as ICUs.

Governors Larry Hogan of Maryland and Andrew Cuomo of New York made a bipartisan call Saturday for an additional $500 billion in U.S. federal aid for states and territories grappling with the pandemic. They said in a statement that implementing stay-at-home orders and other public health measures have “resulted in catastrophic damage to state economies.”

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