AGENCIES, Washington: Quoting statistics from Johns Hopkins University, US health authorities have confirmed that fatalities due to the coronavirus pandemic have crossed 5,000 on Wednesday.
At about 0235 GMT Thursday, 5,116 people had died, the tally showed, on the same day the United States set a one-day record of 884 people killed in 24 hours.
The US death toll is lower than those of Italy and Spain but above the 3,316 recorded for China, where the pandemic first emerged in December.
According to Johns Hopkins, the US leads the world in number of cases of new coronavirus, with 215,417.
President Donald Trump, who earlier had downplayed the pandemic’s impact on the US, said Wednesday that “we’re going to have a couple of weeks, starting pretty much now, but especially a few days from now, that are going to be horrific.”
Meanwhile, in China, where the coronavirus outbreak first emerged in December, reported dwindling new infections on Wednesday and for the first time disclosed the number of asymptomatic cases, which could complicate how trends in the outbreak are read.
As of Tuesday, there were about 20,000 people under observation in China although they may not necessarily be carriers.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the G7 economies meet last week the there’s an “intentional disinformation campaign” by China on the coronavirus, adding that the world still needed accurate information from Beijing.
China denies the charge and has won praise from the World Health Organization on its actions to stop the virus spreading.
A senior US scientist Anthony Fauci issued a cautious prediction that the novel coronavirus could claim 100,000 to 200,000 lives in the US.