COVID-19 deaths break US record as virus spreads through every state

By Benjamin Mateus
15 April 2020

On Tuesday, 2,349 people succumbed to COVID-19 in the United States, in the highest daily death toll in the US—or any other country. But with the US media promoting the narrative that the pandemic was showing “glimmers of hope” and “hopeful signs,” this staggering toll did not even make the evening news.

With Wyoming reporting its first COVID-19 death Monday, every state in the country now has a recorded death from the virus. The state of New York reported 778 deaths Tuesday, New Jersey 362, Michigan 166, Massachusetts 113 and Louisiana 129.

The state of New York has reported 202,208 cases, approximately one third of all US cases. Its death toll stands at a harrowing 10,834. However, this figure does not take into account that New York City has added 3,700 additional people to its list of those who have presumably died from COVID-19 at hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, but were never tested. The New York City health department released figures that now place the number of deaths in the city alone at over 10,000.

Elmhurst Hospital, Andrew Lichstein (Getty images)

The pandemic has led to a rise in collateral deaths, or deaths not directly related to COVID-19, but to the inability of the health system and first responders to focus attention on the basic health needs of the population due to a lack of resources. Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City said last week, “The driver of this huge uptick in deaths at home is COVID-19. And some people are dying directly of it, and some people are dying indirectly of it, but it is the tragic 'X' factor here.”

Massachusetts has climbed into the third position as the number of new cases has grown. Per capita, it is just behind the state of Louisiana, which recorded 129 deaths today to surpass the 1,000 mark. Governor Charlie Baker said that Massachusetts is bracing for a surge in cases expected in mid-to-late April, with an anticipated 2,500 new cases per day.

The state of Michigan, with over 27,000 cases, has a case fatality rate of 6.5 percent and over 1,768 deaths. Yesterday, the state reported 166 new deaths.

In a gruesomely emblematic scene, photos taken by emergency room staff show bodies in white bags piled in closets and vacant spaces, and strewn on the floor because the morgue was too full to take more corpses. Yet, a hospital spokesman told a CNN reporter, “Surge plans are in place at our hospital to handle the increase in inpatient volumes to ensure we provide the safest and most appropriate care for our patients.”

Corpses piled in storate at Detroit's Sinai-Grace hospital

Detroit’s convention center has been turned into a field hospital and began to receive patients on Tuesday. So far, eight patients have been transferred to begin relieving overcrowded hospitals. There are no ventilators or ICU beds in the facility. The center has 970 beds with patient support services, showers, toilets and a command center including a pharmacy. Mayor Mike Duggan said, “The TCF Center will start off-loading a lot of that stress with 50 today and 50 tomorrow.”

The epidemic has taken a heavy toll on the state of Louisiana, with over 21,500 cases and more than 1,000 deaths. Louisiana’s case fatality index is near 5 percent. Governor John Bel Edwards noted concern that though the number of daily cases has been declining, several groups recently gathered over Easter weekend to celebrate the holiday.

“Today’s death count is the largest we have reported in a single day since this COVID-19 outbreak started and it brings the number of Louisianans we have lost to more than 1,000,” he said. “That’s 1,013 people who are someone’s mother, father, sister, or brother or child or aunt or uncle.” He appeared visibly morose during his press briefing.

The neighboring state of Texas added 736 new cases, topping 15,000 cases. Mississippi now has 3,000 cases, adding 145 new cases, and has 111 deaths.

Despite the disastrous daily death toll, the Trump administration and state governments are working to reopen businesses as rapidly as possible. These moves take place despite the fact that the testing, quarantine and contact tracing measures necessary to contain the disease are not in place.

More bodies piled haphazardly in the hospital

“The worst is not over,” the World Health Organization said Monday. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned, “As COVID-19 accelerates very fast, it decelerates much more slowly. The way down is much slower than the way up. That means control measures must be lifted slowly and with control—it cannot happen all at once. Control measures can only be lifted if right public health measures are in place, including a significant capacity for contact tracing.”

However, despite Trump’s constant boasting, the US has tested less than 0.9 percent of the population, and there are reports throughout the country of ill people unable to obtain testing.

At a White House briefing yesterday, President Trump announced that all funding to the World Health Organization would be suspended. He sought to place the blame for the pandemic—which has been massively exacerbated by his administration’s disastrous response—on the United Nations agency and on China, with which he claimed the World Health Organization was too friendly.