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Coronavirus update: 100 days since COVID-19 declared a pandemic, and U.S. has highest case and death tallies by a wide margin

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By Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch


Getty Images
A worker sanitizes slot machines in Las Vegas

A full 100 days since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and the U.S. death toll is approaching 118,000, with new cases still climbing in 20 states, even as governors push to reopen more businesses.

The U.S. has the highest case tally in the world by a wide margin at 2.2 million, and the highest death toll, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, and experts now say the number of COVID-19–related deaths could surpass 200,000 by Oct. 1.

From the MarketWatch archives (March 11, 2020): World Health Organization declares that the coronavirus is a pandemic

The White House has been criticized for its slow initial response to the crisis, and for playing down the risks ever since, which experts say is sending the wrong message to Americans, who are increasingly resisting wearing face masks in public or socially distancing, measures that public health experts insist are keys to containing the spread.

President Donald Trump, who is pressing ahead with plans to restart his campaign rallies starting in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday night, said this week that the rise in cases is due to more testing, and mused that “if we stop testing right now we’d have very few cases.”

“There are fears of a second wave of the coronavirus; the president can barely acknowledge that this remains a problem, a problem that continues to kill thousands of Americans each week,” MarketWatch commentator Paul Brandus, White House bureau chief for West Wing Reports, wrote on Thursday.

Tulsa County recorded its biggest one-day rise in new cases on Wednesday, at 96, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the county to 1,825. The rally is to be held in a 19,000-seat indoor center , which had long ago postponed all other events — including Bon Jovi, Kiss and Justin Bieber concerts — through at least the end of July.

Those requesting tickets to the Trump rally have been required to sign a waiver releasing the campaign from liability in case of illness or injury.

Read: Despite concerning data, White House continues to play down coronavirus worries

The reopening of the economy is not the only reason for the rise in new cases. The protests that have erupted across the U.S. following the deaths of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks, and others, are likely to cause some spread. While many of the protesters are young and are using face coverings, they are gathering in large numbers too great to enable social distancing, and the use of tear gas to disperse crowds is causing coughing and respiratory distress that can spread infection.

See: Will the protests lead to a spike in coronavirus cases? That depends

Americans are also more mobile, since most restrictions on movement have been lifted, Fundstrat Global Advisors analysts noted in commentary. And there’s a “lack of ‘herd immunity’ in most states,” with possible exceptions in the Tri-State region and other hard-hit locations, they wrote.

New York has a confirmed case count of 19,798 cases per 1 million residents, while New Jersey has a confirmed case count of 18,881 per million residents. That’s equal to about 2% of the combined population of the two states. That compares with California at 3,974 per million residents, Texas at 3,332 and Florida at 3,851.

“COVID-19 has run through NY/NJ and potentially, given seroprevalence tests, the residents of those two states have herd immunity. In other words, NY/NJ may be the safest places in the U.S. and the citizens might be immune. This similar collapse in cases is seen in Italy, France and Spain, so what we are seeing in these 6 states could remind us that the respective curves are simply flatter.”

Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, told NPR this week that he hasn’t spoken to President Donald Trump in two weeks.

The White House Task Force created to manage the pandemic have made fewer public appearances in recent weeks as Trump and Vice President Mike Pence shrug off the import of the virus to focus instead on economic recovery, even as experts warn that failure to manage the crisis will cause further economic pain.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, told NPR this week that he hasn’t spoken to Trump in two weeks. But state officials are starting to promote the measures Fauci has consistently recommended, including mandatory mask wearing. On Wednesday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, reversed course to authorize local governments to mandate mask wearing in public in response to a spike in cases.

See also: ‘We’re still in a first wave,’ Fauci says, noting precautions can prevent second wave of coronavirus

Click to Play

Wildfires Rage Across Arizona as State’s Covid-19 Cases Surge

Firefighters are battling three large blazes across Arizona as the state also grapples with a jump in coronavirus-related hospitalizations. Photo: Christopher Brown/Zuma Press

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, made masks mandatory for parts of her state. And Southern cities such as Memphis, Tenn., and Montgomery, Ala., have also moved to mandate face coverings this week, as the Washington Post reported.

In the U.K., the world’s top soccer league, the English Premier League, returned to action after a 100-day layoff on Wednesday, with a pair of matches. Those were the first of 92 league matches set to be played in the next 40 days.

Face masks are optional for players and coaching-staff members, while medical staff are outfitted with PPE. Goal celebrations are to abide by social-distancing guidelines.

Latest tallies

There are now 8.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and at least 450,435 people have died, the Johns Hopkins data show. At least 4.1 million people have recovered.

Brazil has the second highest case tally and death toll in the world, and President Jair Bolsanaro has been widely criticized his chaotic approach to the crisis. Brazil has 955,377 cases and 46,510 fatalities.

Don’t miss: How Brazil’s uncoordinated approach to COVID-19 gave the country the second highest death toll in the world

Russia has 560,321 cases and 7,650 fatalities. India has 366,946 cases and 12,237 deaths.

The U.K. has 300,935 cases and 42,373 deaths, the highest death toll in Europe and now third highest in the world.

Spain has 245,268 cases and 27,136 deaths, while Italy, also an early European hot spot, has 238,159 cases and 34,514 deaths.

Peru moved past Italy by case number, with 240,908 cases; it’s recorded 7,257 deaths.

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