More than 875,000 Americans have contracted the highly contagious respiratory illness COVID-19 caused by the virus, and on average about 2,000 have died every day this month, according to a Reuters tally.
The true number of cases is thought to be higher, with state public health officials cautioning that shortages of trained workers and materials have limited testing capacity.
Deaths are also likely higher, as most states only count hospital and nursing home victims and not those who died at home. About 40% of the deaths have occurred in New York state, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, followed by New Jersey, Michigan and Massachusetts.
U.S. coronavirus deaths, the highest in the world, now exceed the total number of Americans killed in the 1950-53 Korean War – 36,516.
Despite the 50,000 deaths, Georgia pushed ahead with its plan to become the first state to allow an array of small businesses to reopen on Friday.
Gyms, hair salons, tattoo parlors and some other businesses were cleared to open their doors by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who disregarded warnings from public health experts that relaxing restrictions could lead to a surge in infections of the novel coronavirus and more deaths.
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