The United States has seen its death toll from the new coronavirus surpass 50,000, a figure that remains the highest of any country in the world, a tally by Johns Hopkins University showed Friday.
As the country crosses the threshold, which represents a level of deaths 1.5 times larger than the number of Americans killed in combat during the 1950-1953 Korean War, the administration of President Donald Trump has been pushing to reopen the economy from local and regional lockdowns meant to slow the pandemic.
The number of U.S. infection cases began to surge in March. The Trump administration projected in late March that at least 100,000 people in the country could die from the disease, but has said the actual number of deaths could be substantially lower amid ongoing social-distancing efforts.
(Grand Central Terminal in New York City)
The country with the second-largest death toll has been Italy with around 26,000 fatalities, followed by Spain at over 22,000, according to the tally.
China, where the virus was first detected late last year, has lost around 4,600 lives due to the coronavirus.
The Trump administration has been skeptical about the statistics released by China, which it also accuses of trying to cover up the outbreak during its early stages.
"Their numbers seem to be a little bit on the light side," Trump said at a press conference on April 1.
(The USNS Comfort hospital ship sits docked on the Hudson River below the Empire State Building as the sun sets in New York City on April 21, 2020.)
Meanwhile, Trump on Friday signed into law a $480 billion economic measure to provide additional funding for small business loans, health care providers and virus testing.
In late March, the president signed into law a $2 trillion relief package, the largest in U.S. history, to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic through direct cash payments to households and assistance to battered industries.