COVID-19 hits all 50 US states, toll surges to 108

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Washington: The deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has now hit all 50 states in the US. With West Virginia reporting its first case of infection on Tuesday, Governor Jim Justice said, “We knew this was coming.”

New York City said it was considering a lockdown similar to one in the San Francisco Bay area, BBC reported.

There have so far been 108 deaths in the US from COVID-19 and more than 6,300 confirmed cases nationwide.

Globally, there are about 200,000 cases and nearly 8,000 people have died.

As the Trump administration seeks a $1tn economic stimulus package, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reportedly warned Republican senators privately on Tuesday evening that if Congress failed to act, US unemployment could hit 20 percent — almost double the jobless rate during the Great Recession after the 2008 financial crisis.

US Vice President Mike Pence has said the White House may call on the military to establish field hospitals in virus hot spots if requested by state governors.

He told a White House news conference on Tuesday that the Army Corps of Engineers could be asked to set up field hospitals, known as Mash (mobile army surgical hospital) units, or help expand existing hospitals.

Pentagon chief Mark Esper said the US military would make available five million respirator masks and up to 2,000 ventilators to the US health department.

He said the military would also open its 14 certified coronavirus labs to test non-military personnel.

March 18 (IANS)

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