WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) – American deaths from the coronavirus passed Italy’s, affirming the US’ spot as the epicentre of the global pandemic.
Deaths from the virus reached at least 18,860 in the US, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Italy had 619 new deaths for a total of 18,849.
New York reported 783 new fatalities on Saturday morning – yet to be included in the Johns Hopkins numbers – and the US figure will rise throughout the day as more states report data.
The heavy toll in the US – and much of Europe – is linked to the failure to enact widespread measures like mass testing and social distancing early enough to prevent the virus from taking hold.
Parts of the US were still not locked down in recent days, creating the opportunity for wider spread in places that have not suffered as much as hot spots in New York and Detroit.
That the US has more deaths than Italy is not that surprising given that its population of 330 million is five times greater. The statistics may also be incomplete, thanks to differences in testing and reporting among countries.