Number of COVID-19 cases cross half-million mark

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The United States has surpassed Italy to become the country reporting the most COVID-19 deaths in the world, a figure which experts have called an underestimation.

The States recorded 1,920 deaths related to the novel coronavirus over the past 24 hours.

The outbreak has now claimed the lives of at least 20,506 people in the USA, which leads the world in deaths and in the number of declared infections - at least 527,111, according to a tally maintained by Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University. A short time afterward, Italy again had the highest death toll at 19,500.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, and other health officials have pointed to falling rates of virus hospitalisations and admissions to intensive care units, particularly in NY state, as signs that social distancing measures are paying off.

Dr Birx noted that the rate of increase appears to be stabilising in hard-hit regions like New York, New Jersey and the city of Chicago. Many claim they can't get through to unemployment to even file, and the longer businesses go without revenue, the less likely they are to come roaring back - if they even reopen. There have been 29,191 reported recoveries in the United States, the researchers also said.

Nonetheless, Trump has said he wants life to return to normal as soon as possible and that the measures aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 disease carry their own economic and public-health cost.

But with authorities warning that the crisis in NY is far from over, the city announced its 1.1 million-pupil school system will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.

Ontario chief medical officer issues new COVID-19 testing guidelines
With the backlog in tests now clear, officials say they have the laboratory testing capacity to reach their new goal. Ontario health offiicials have identified 58 outbreaks in long-term care homes . "We are ramping it up", he said.

On Wednesday, the state had reported 799 deaths, while on Thursday the death toll in NY state was 777.

On MSNBC on Friday, Fauci was asked about the presidential election: "If you had your way, and I know November to a lot of people seems a long time from now, would people in all 50 states have the right and ability to vote by mail?"

Easter weekend kicked off in near-empty churches around the world as parishioners remained locked in their homes.

More than four billion people - over half the world's population - are confined to their homes from NY to Naples to New Delhi as governments scramble to contain the pandemic's deadly march across the globe.

"His words, although spoken far from Saint Peter's Square, which was wrapped in an unreal silence, have reached everyone", said Conte.

Shoppers crowded supermarkets in Istanbul late Friday in a rush to stock up on supplies before the curfew kicked in at midnight.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned Friday that jumping the gun could lead to a "deadly resurgence" of the novel coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2. The model, created by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, projected that even if the restrictions remain in place there will still have been around 61,500 deaths in the U.S. due to Covid-19 by August.

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