The United States now has the most coronavirus cases in the world with 83,553 infections and 1,205 deaths.
New figures released on Thursday show that the US has overtaken China and Italy with the number of confirmed cases in the global pandemic.
Italy is still the hardest hit country in terms of deaths with more than 8,000 fatalities. China, where the pandemic began in December, has recorded more than 3,000 deaths.
The number of coronavirus infections have now topped a half-million worldwide.
It comes after the World Health Organization this week predicted a grim outlook for the US, saying that the country would quickly become the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic given the ‘very large acceleration’ of confirmed infections.
New York on Thursday recorded 100 coronavirus deaths in just 24 hours, bringing the state total to 385, as the number of fatal cases across the United States increased to 1,205.
New York, which is the epicenter of the US outbreak with 50 percent of the country’s total confirmed cases, now as 385 deaths and more than 37,000 infections.
There are 281 deaths in New York City and 21,873 infections.
Louisiana is now emerging as the possible next epicenter of the US outbreak after infections rose by 30 percent in 24 hours. That state recorded 2,305 infections and 83 deaths by Thursday. Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans has been blamed for the outbreak there.
New Jersey has 6,876 confirmed cases and 81 deaths, while California has 3,899 cases and 81 deaths. Washington state, which was initially the epicenter following an outbreak at a Seattle nursing home, now has 3,207 confirmed cases and 150 deaths.
It comes as new research showed the outbreak could lead to more than 80,000 deaths in the US within the next four months and overwhelm hospital capacity nationally as soon as early April even if social distancing measures are respected.
Forecasters at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine have predicted that during the epidemic peak – set for some point in April – as many as 2,300 patients could die every day.
This was the case even if the population adhered to strict social distancing measures.
Their predictions came after analyzing the latest COVID-19 data, including hospitalization and mortality rates, as well as patient date in terms of age, gender and pre-existing health problems.
The analysis warned that based on current trends, demand for both ICU beds and ventilators would far exceed capacity for COVID-19 patients as early as the second week of April.
It comes as health care systems in both New York and Europe buckled under the weight of caring for seriously ill victims as officials desperately searched for enough ventilators to keep them alive.
New York City’s convention center is now being turned into a temporary hospital and a makeshift morgue was set up outside Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital on Wednesday to cope with a possible surge in victims.
Public health officials in New York hunted down beds and medical equipment and put out a call for more doctors and nurses for fear the number of sick will explode in a matter of weeks, overwhelming hospitals as has happened in Italy and Spain.
In a preview of what might be ahead for the US, Spain has converted hotels into makeshift hospitals and turned an ice rink in Madrid into a temporary morgue. The curve of infections has not slowed in Spain, which now has more than 4,100 deaths, second only to Italy’s death toll.
Faced with the exponential spread of the pandemic, the US Senate passed a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems.
Millions of Americans hoped the measure would give them a lifeline as they lost jobs, income and child care due to the social-distancing rules needed to slow the spread of the virus.
At least 1.5 billion people across the world are now under severe travel restrictions.
But the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, scolded world leaders for wasting precious time in the fight against the virus that has already killed more than 21,000 people, thrown millions out of work and ravaged the world economy.
He called it ‘public enemy No. 1.’
Across the US, roughly half of the population have been affected by stay-at-home orders in at least 18 states.
The sweeping orders are aimed at slowing the spread of the pathogen but have upended daily life as schools and businesses shutter indefinitely.