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U.S. surpasses Italy as country with highest coronavirus death toll

The United States surpassed Italy on Saturday as the country with the highest death toll, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has now reached over 19,700 deaths, with more than half a million confirmed cases.

The increase in confirmed cases and deaths leave many Americans concerned, as experts say the U.S. has yet to reach its peak before trending down in the summer months. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts a national peak in coronavirus deaths on April 12.

Cities across the Midwest are preparing for potential outbreaks, using models and community data to predict areas that need further protection to stall the spread of the virus. Wisconsin expects to see further cases after thousands of people voted in the state primary on Tuesday. 

Though, as cases level off in countries like Italy and Spain, there’s hope that the peak the U.S. is bracing for will be the worst of a months-long health crisis that’s left Americans fearful to leave their homes.

“Don’t do silly things. Don’t go out, continue to behave responsibly as you have done until today, use your head and your sense of responsibility,” said Italy’s special commissioner for the virus emergency. 

Italy announced it will extend it’s lockdown for another three weeks to May 3. Though the U.S. leads in its number of deaths,  Italy’s death rate is still much lower, with only one fifth of the population at 60.3 million people.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, member of the Coronavirus Task Force, says authorities will make evaluations day-by-day before deciding to reopen the country.

“The virus kind of decides whether or not it’s appropriate to open it. The one thing you don’t want to do is you don’t want to get out there prematurely and then wind up backtracking,” Fauci told CNN.

PHOTO CREDIT: Laura Lezza/Getty Images

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