US tops world in virus cases, overtaking China and Italy

AFP Washington, United States of America Mar 27, 2020, 08.04 AM(IST)

File photo of coronavirus Photograph:( Reuters )

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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.

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.

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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.

"We are waging war on this virus using every financial, scientific, medical, pharmaceutical and military resource, to halt its spread and protect our citizens," US President Donald Trump said.

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With about 40 percent of Americans under lockdown orders, Trump urged citizens to do their part by practicing social distancing: "Stay home. Just relax, stay home."

With fears mounting of a global recession if not depression, leaders from the Group of 20 major economies held crisis talks by video link Thursday, pledging a "united front" to fight the outbreak -- along with an enormous financial injection.

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

"The virus respects no borders," the leaders said in a statement.

"We are injecting over $5 trillion into the global economy, as part of targeted fiscal policy, economic measures, and guarantee schemes to counteract the social, economic and financial impacts of the pandemic." 

They also pledged "robust" support for developing nations, where coronavirus could next take hold after ravaging China and then Europe.