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As US Numbers Rise, Chinese Coronavirus Infections Fall


A body wrapped in plastic that was unloaded from a refrigerated truck is handled by medical workers wearing personal protective equipment due to COVID-19 concerns, Tuesday, March 31, 2020, at Brooklyn Hospital Center in Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
As US Numbers Rise, Chinese Coronavirus Infections Fall
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The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States climbed past 3,600 Tuesday. That number is higher than the official death count reported by China where the coronavirus started.

In New York state, Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters that his brother, CNN reporter Chris Cuomo, has become infected.

“But there’s a lesson in this,” Cuomo said of his 49-year-old brother. “He’s an essential worker, a member of the press so he’s been out there. If you go out there, the chance that you get infected is very high.”

Chris Cuomo (L) interviews his brother, Governor Mario Cuomo of New York, on his CNN news program.
Chris Cuomo (L) interviews his brother, Governor Mario Cuomo of New York, on his CNN news program.

Chris Cuomo wrote on Twitter that he was under quarantine but would continue to host his CNN news program. He added: “We will all beat this by being smart and tough and united!”

Some estimates by health experts warn that the number of U.S. deaths could go as high as 100,000. As a result, President Donald Trump has withdrawn his call for Americans to return to work and urged them to stay at home at least until the end of April.

In New York, the center of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., former nurses, doctors and other professionals are offering to help. New York City also sought to bring in 250 emergency vehicles from other areas. Officials reported that the city has answered about 6,000 emergency calls a day.

The Javits Center, Central Park and the National Tennis Center, the site of the U.S. Open Championship, have been turned into temporary hospitals. On Monday, a U.S. Navy hospital ship, the U.S.S. Comfort, arrived with another 1,000 beds to help treat patients.

Coronavirus in Europe

In Europe, Italy with over 12,400 deaths, has reported that the infection rate appears to falling. Officials say the number of new cases could start reducing.

Dr. Silvio Brusaferro, head of Italy’s national institutes of health, said the rate of infection might have reached its highest point. “It means now we should start to see the decline if we continue to place maximum attention on what we do every day.”

Spain has struggled to prevent the collapse of its hospital system. The country has reported over 8,200 deaths, second only to Italy.

Officials opened a second temporary morgue in the capital of Madrid after running out of space at a place for ice skating. Hotels, sports centers, libraries and other buildings have been turned into temporary hospitals.

Health worker wearing protective suits to protect from coronavirus work at a nursing home, in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
Health worker wearing protective suits to protect from coronavirus work at a nursing home, in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

A 12-year-old girl became the youngest person to die in Belgium, although it is not clear whether she had other health problems.

In Russia, lawmakers approved strong punishments, including prison, for violating quarantine rules and spreading misinformation. The chief doctor at Moscow’s hospital for coronavirus patients said he became infected with the virus, one week after shaking hands with President Vladimir Putin.

Worldwide, Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center reported that more than 840,000 people have been infected and over 40,000 have died.

What about China

China on Tuesday reported just one new death from the coronavirus and 48 new cases. Chinese officials said that all new infections came from overseas.

The country of 1.4 billion people has reported about 82,000 confirmed infections and 3,300 deaths. The low numbers have raised questions from critics inside the country.

Radio Free Asia reported that people living in the central city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus started, questioned the official number of 2,500 deaths in the city.

Volunteers in protective suits disinfect a shopping complex in Wuhan, Hubei province, the epicentre of China's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, March 31, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song
Volunteers in protective suits disinfect a shopping complex in Wuhan, Hubei province, the epicentre of China's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, March 31, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

Last week, seven large funeral homes in Wuhan returned the remains of about 500 people to their families every day. This suggests that more people may have died than official reports claim. The Chinese news website Caixin.com reported that 5,000 urns were delivered to just one funeral home in one day. That is two times the number of official deaths.

A Wuhan resident named Zhang told RFA last Friday, "It can't be right ...because the incinerators have been working round the clock, so how can so few people have died?"

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Hai Do adapted this article for VOA Learning English based on Associated Press and Radio Free Asia stories. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

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Words in This Story

essential –adj. very important, necessary

quarantine –n. to be kept separate from other to prevent the spread of disease or sickness

beat –v. to defeat

decline –v. to reduce or go down in number

maximum –adj. the highest point or greatest number

morgue –n. a place where people who have died are kept

urns –n. a container that holds ashes of people who have died

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