The coronavirus death toll in the US increased to 31, while the infected cases surged past 1,000 as the country grappled to contain the virus that has spread to over 30 states with many declaring a state of emergency. A total of 1,037 people have been confirmed COVID-19 positive in the country, according to a tally by the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
One person each in South Dakota and California and two in Washington state died from the virus, taking the total number of fatalities in the US to 31, a report in the Washington Post said.
The virus has been detected in more than 30 states, it said.
Eleven states of New York, California, Washington, Florida, Oregon, Utah, Maryland, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Colorado have declared emergency.
“We're taking this unbelievably seriously, and I think we're doing a really good job. And, again, the task force, headed up by the vice president, has been fantastic,” Trump told reporters at the US Capitol on Tuesday after meeting his Republican party colleagues.
The country is making extensive efforts to fight the rapid spread of the virus. Public gatherings have been cancelled, travel has been restricted, authorities have urged employees to stay at home, schools have shut down and colleges have shifted to online classes.
Major events, including Boston's St. Patrick's Day Parade and Austin's South by Southwest festival, slated to be held this weekend, have been cancelled, the report said.
“We stand here today, the risk to the average American of contracting the coronavirus remains low, but we're absolutely determined to give every
American the tools and the information that they need to protect themselves, their families, their workplace, their schools,” Vice President Mike Pence told reporters at the White House.
By the end of this week, there will be more than four million more tests made available in jurisdictions around the country and one million are already in place, he said.
Top commercial labs LabCorp and Quest are in the process of distributing and marketing coronavirus tests across America.
“We are working with state local officials to ensure that happens as rapidly as possible,” he added.
Meanwhile, representatives of top tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Twitter will visit the White House on Wednesday for a meeting to discuss coordination for a coherent response to the novel coronavirus.
State of Massachusetts has declared emergency as 51 new coronavirus cases were reported.
“Today, there are 51 new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed or presumptive positive cases in the commonwealth to 92,” said Marylou Sudders, secretary of Massachusetts’ health and human services.
New Jersey too declared a state of emergency as coronavirus cases surged in the tri-state area of New York and Connecticut.
The State of Colorado too declared a state of emergency after confirming seven coronavirus cases in only two days.
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a containment around the suburb of New Rochelle in Westchester County from where a large number of cases have been reported.
He said National Guard will help deliver food to homes and clean public spaces in the containment area.
The containment is a "dramatic action" that's also a “matter of life and death,” he said.
“We'll go in, we'll clean the schools and assess the situation. This will be a period of disruption for the community,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Trump compared coronavirus to the common flu.
“So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life and the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!” Trump tweeted.
The global death toll from the new coronavirus has crossed 4,250 and the outbreak has spread to over 100 countries.