At least 110 people have died from the new coronavirus in the United States, and the total number of known infections has surged past 6,400 as the contagions spreads to all 50 states.
The greatest number of deaths is in Washington state in the West Coast, where there were 50 deaths, followed by New York state in the East Coast with 12 deaths.
The governor of West Virginia said on Tuesday that the state has reported its first positive case of coronavirus, meaning all 50 US states now have confirmed cases.
“We knew it was coming. We’ve prepared for this and we shouldn’t panic. We should be cautious and we should be concerned, but we should not panic,” Governor Jim Justice said in a televised address.
Globally, there are more than 197,490 coronavirus cases and more than 7,940 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
After initially playing down the threat, President Donald Trump’s tone on the pandemic has changed dramatically over the past few days.
The Trump administration pressed Congress on Tuesday to approve a $1 trillion stimulus package to blunt the economic pain from the coronavirus outbreak.
The stimulus package includes $1,000 direct payments to individual Americans and $50 billion for hard-hit airlines facing bankruptcy.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Tuesday that Washington is sending checks to Americans amid the economic recession, adding that the initiative would take effect in the next two weeks.
“You can think of this as something like business interruption payments for the American workers,” Mnuchin told reporters at the White House. “Although the president likes the idea of the payroll tax holiday … we’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately… And I mean, now in the next two weeks.”
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence said the White House might either direct the US military to establish field hospitals in virus hot zones if state governors request or enlist the Army Corps of Engineers to add capacity to existing hospitals.