US deaths due to the coronavirus surpassed 19,600 on Saturday, the highest reported number in the world, according to a Reuters tally, although there are signs the pandemic might be nearing a peak.
Italy — the first to surpass death toll in China, where the virus was first reported — has the second most deaths at 19,468 and Spain is in third place with 16,353. The United States has five times the population of Italy and nearly seven times the population of Spain.
The United States has seen its highest death tolls to date in the epidemic with roughly 2,000 deaths a day reported for the last four days in a row.
Public health experts have warned that the US death toll could spike to 200,000 over the summer if unprecedented stay-at-home orders that have closed businesses and kept most Americans indoors are lifted after 30 days.
Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases detected in the United States rose past half a million over the Easter weekend.
The stay-at-home orders imposed in recent weeks across 42 of the 50 states have taken a huge toll on American commerce, with some economists forecasting job losses of up to 20 million by month’s end, raising questions about how long business closures and travel restrictions can be sustained.
Globally, there have been more than 1.6 million confirmed cases, with the death toll surpassing 103,000.