The number of people who have died from the novel coronavirus in the United States exceeded 50,000 Friday, marking the latest in a series of morbid milestones for the country hardest hit by the pandemic.
The death toll, based on reporting from Johns Hopkins University, remains the highest in the world and is nearly twice that of Italy, which had been the country with the most fatal cases until it was surpassed by the U.S. earlier this month.
As of 11 a.m. ET on April 24, it stood at 50,031 deaths.
Nearly a third of those deaths have been reported in New York City alone, which has seen over 16,000 fatalities. The state at large has seen an additional 4,200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.
Overall, nearly 870,000 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the U.S. Cases have been confirmed in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., as well as in U.S. territories like Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands.
The case total is quadruple the number reported in Spain, the country with the second-highest total in the world at over 213,000. The U.S also accounts for nearly a third of the over 2.7 million cases worldwide.
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Data from the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention shows the numbers of cases and deaths have continued to rise at a steady pace throughout the month of April.
Yet Vice President Mike Pence, the leader of the country’s coronavirus task force, said Thursday that the same data is showing “promising signs of progress” that several states, including New York, appear to be “past their peaks.”
He also said hospital admissions are declining, and that Americans are helping lower the spread of transmission by following physical distancing guidelines.
“Our only conclusion is that we’re getting there, America,” he said. “We’re making meaningful progress, in a very real sense sparing Americans to be exposed to the coronavirus, and to no less extent saving lives.”
Pence added that 16 states have so far released formal guidelines on reopening their economies and easing physical distancing measures, following the three-phase plan released by the federal government last week.