United States braces for “hardest and saddest” week as virus deaths exceed 9,000

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(Reuters) – The United States is entering one of the most critical weeks to date in the coronavirus crisis with the death toll exploding in New York, Michigan and Louisiana and some governors call for a national order to stay at home.

A man walks along an empty street as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, April 4, 2020. REUTERS / Carlos Barria

New York, the hardest hit state, reported on Sunday that there were nearly 600 new deaths for a total of 4,159 deaths and 122,000 cases in total.

The bodies of victims of COVID-19, the flu-like respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, were stacked in bright orange bags inside a makeshift morgue outside the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, according to photos provided to Reuters.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said new hospitalizations had dropped 50% and that for the first time in at least a week, deaths had declined slightly from the previous day when they had increased by 630.

But he warned that it was not yet clear whether the crisis in the state was reaching a plateau.

“The coronavirus is really vicious and effective in its actions,” Cuomo said in a daily briefing. “He is an effective killer. “

US surgeon Jerome Adams warned on Fox News Sunday that tough times are ahead, but “there is a light at the end of the tunnel if everyone does their part for the next 30 days.”

“It will be the hardest and saddest week in the lives of most Americans, quite frankly. It will be our time in Pearl Harbor, our time of September 11, but it will not be located, “he said. “It will happen across the country. And I want America to understand that. “

Places like Pennsylvania, Colorado and Washington, D.C. are starting to see an increase in deaths. The White House Coronavirus task force has warned that now is not the time to go to the grocery store or other public places.

Most states have ordered residents to stay at home, with the exception of trips essential to slow the spread of the virus in the United States, where more than 321,000 people tested positive and more than 9,100 died, according to a report from Reuters.

However, some churches held large gatherings on Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week in Christian churches.

“We are defying the rules because God’s command is to spread the gospel,” said Tony Spell, pastor of the Life Tabernacle mega-church in a suburb of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He has challenged state orders against gathering in large groups and has already been charged with six crimes.

Louisiana has become a hot spot for the virus, reporting an increase in deaths to 409 and more than 12,000 cases on Saturday.

Governor John Bel Edwards told CNN on Sunday that the state could run out of fans by Thursday.

White House medical experts predicted that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could be killed during the pandemic, even if orders to stay at home were followed.

President Donald Trump warned on Saturday that there were “very horrible” days ahead.

However, the Wisconsin-controlled Republican legislature decided to hold a face-to-face vote for its presidential primary on Tuesday, when Democrat-led Colorado will also go ahead with local elections.

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, whose state recorded the country’s first confirmed COVID-19 infection, but has since seen cases flatten out after early action to block activity, said that if other states did not also impose strict measures, the virus would simply circulate.

“It would be nice to have a national home stay order,” he told the NBC News “Meet the Press” program. “Even if Washington does well, if another state does not, it could return and cross our borders in two months.”

Arkansas Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, however, defended his refusal to order statewide restrictions, saying the situation was being watched closely and his “more focused approach” still slowing the spread. of the virus.

“We will do more than necessary,” he told NBC.

Kate Lynn Blatt, 38, rural property manager in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, said she was amazed that her state’s governor Tom Wolf waited until April 1 to issue a stay order to home throughout the state.

“We were shocked. I cannot believe that Trump has not issued a national order and I still cannot believe that there are states that are still open, “said Blatt.

Report by Susan Heavey and Amanda Becker in Washington and Daniel Trotta; Written by Lisa Shumaker; Editing by Daniel Wallis

Our standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.

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