US tops world in coronavirus cases, overtakes China, Italy

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The United States on Thursday took the grim title of the country with the most coronavirus infections and reported a record surge in unemployment as world leaders vowed $5 trillion to stave off global economic collapse.

More than 500,000 people around the world have now contracted the new coronavirus, overwhelming healthcare systems even in wealthy nations and triggering an avalanche of government-ordered lockdowns that have disrupted life for billions.

In the United States, more than 83,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19, edging out Italy, which has reported the most deaths, and China, where the virus was first detected in December in the metropolis of Wuhan.

Surrounded by members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, US President Donald Trump speaks at a press conference on COVID-19, known as the coronavirus, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP

The US has recorded 1,178 deaths, while the global death toll stood at 23,293.

With about 40 per cent of Americans under lockdown orders, Trump urged citizens to do their part by practising social distancing: “Stay home. Just relax, stay home.”

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