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U.S. surpasses Italy in number of COVID deaths.

By |The Newyork Times

The United States on Saturday surpassed Italy in the total number of confirmed deaths from the coronavirus, reaching its deadliest day on Friday with 2,057 deaths. As of Saturday afternoon, the total stood at 20,229.

Already the pandemic has put more than 16 million out of work, forcing President Trump into the difficult choice of reopening the country as it reels economically from the pandemic.

Deaths in the United States per capita remained lower than in Italy, though some experts have warned that geography and population density have helped cushion the United States so far. To date, the virus has killed 19,468 in Italy, or 32 individuals per 100,000 people. In the United States, the number of deaths per 100,000 people was six.

The country’s death toll, which has more than doubled over the past week, is now increasing by nearly 2,000 most days.

As Mr. Trump grapples simultaneously with the most devastating public health and economic crises of a lifetime, he finds himself pulled in opposite directions. Bankers, corporate executives and industrialists are pleading with him to reopen the country as soon as possible, while medical experts beg for more time to curb the coronavirus.

Tens of thousands more people could die. Millions more could lose their jobs. And his handling of the crisis appears to be hurting his political support in the run-up to November’s election.

In a Saturday night interview with Jeanine Pirro on Fox News, Mr. Trump said the decision on whether to reopen the country is the “toughest” he has ever faced, but he intends to make it “fairly soon” with input from political, business and medical leaders.

“It’s going to be based on a lot of facts and on instinct also,” Mr. Trump said. “Whether we like it or not, there is a certain instinct to it. But we have to get our country back. People want to get back. They want to get back to work.”

But the decision on when and how to reopen is not entirely his. The stay-at-home edicts keeping most Americans indoors were issued by governors state by state.