The number of reported deaths in the United States from the coronavirus surged to nearly double the prior record on Thursday, as Trump unveils plans to reopen the US economy after claiming the virus has "peaked."
In the 24 hours ending at 8 pm Eastern time on Thursday, April 16, the US recorded a total of 4,591 deaths due to COVID-19. This is a significant jump in the country's daily death toll, almost doubling the previous record of 2,569 deaths reported on Wednesday, April 15, according to the Wall Street Journal.
US records highest daily deaths due to coronavirus
This is by far the highest daily death toll recorded by any country in the pandemic so far. However, the figure most likely includes "probable" deaths due to coronavirus as well, which were previously not included.
The updated figures take America's total death tally to 33,286 deaths, the highest number of fatalities across the globe, followed by Italy with 22,170 dead although its population is just one-fifth that of the US. Spain ranks third with 19,130 deaths, followed by France with 17,920.
More than 671,400 cases have been recorded in the United States, with New York, the epicentre of the country's coronavirus outbreak has suffered more than 12,000 deaths across the state alone. This week, New York City announced it would add 3,778 "probable coronavirus deaths to its tally.
Trump claims virus has 'peaked,' rolls out plan to reopen the country
President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency and all the 50 States have been notified with major disaster declaration and more than 95 percent of the country's 330 million population are currently under strict stay-at-home orders.
However, on Thursday, Trump released guidelines to relax lockdown rules and reopen the economy, citing signs that the coronavirus outbreak has reached its peak and started plateauing in parts of the country. He released guidelines that will require each state's governor to follow a phased approach and reopen their individual states.
The 18-page guidelines, titled "Opening Up America Again," details three phases in which the measures will be implemented, each phase lasting, at minimum, 14 days. Phase one includes many of the existing lockdown measures such as avoiding non-essential travel and group gatherings. The phase also allows large venues, places of worship and sports venues, to operate "under strict physical distancing protocols."
Phase two allows non-essential travel to resume is there is no evidence of a resurgence of the coronavirus. The guidance says schools can also reopen and bars can open"with diminished standing-room occupancy." Under phase three, states which are reporting a downward trend of symptoms and cases can allow "public interactions" with physical distancing and the unrestricted staffing of worksites. Visits to care homes and hospitals can resume and bars can increase their standing room capacity.