US coronavirus death toll passes Italy, becomes world’s highest

The U.S. surpassed Italy as the country with the most deaths from the coronavirus on Saturday as authorities world-wide implored citizens to maintain lockdowns despite the Easter holiday weekend.

Reported U.S. cases reached 527,111 with 20,506 total deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of Saturday night. In Italy, which has a smaller population and where the number of confirmed new cases has trended down for many days, the death toll hit 19,468.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that another 783 deaths occurred in New York in the last 24 hours, bringing the total in the state to more than 8,000 deaths. “These are just incredible numbers, depicting incredible loss and pain,” he said.

Mr. Cuomo said he believes the state has hit its “apex,” with the “curve of the increase continuing to flatten.”

He said deaths in New York are stabilizing, but “stabilizing at a horrific rate.” The 783 deaths that occurred over the last 24 hours followed 777 deaths over the previous 24 hours and 799 in the prior 24 hours.

Mr. Cuomo said social distancing is working in the state and he didn’t say when things might reopen. He said he knows the top question on everyone’s mind is, “When does this nightmare end?”

“Reopening is both a public-health question and an economic question, and I’m not willing to divorce the two,” he said. He added that, “we don’t know if there’s going to be a second wave or not.”