US coronavirus deaths topped 48,000 on Thursday as the number of lives lost in April rises by an average of 2,000 a day, according to a Reuters tally.
At current rates, US deaths will reach 50,000 later this week. The total number of US cases was approaching 850,000 with most states yet to report on Thursday.
US cases rose by over 30,000 on Wednesday, the biggest increase in five days but in line with an average of 30,000 new cases a day in April.
Across the country, state officials say there remain bottlenecks in testing capacity, shortages of materials such as swabs used for taking samples and not enough workers to contact- trace infections.
In addition to a staggering death toll, unemployment claims soared on Thursday and reaffirmed the grim economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic.
Over 26.5 million Americans have sought unemployment benefits over the last five weeks, confirming that all the jobs gained during the longest employment boom in US history have been wiped out as the novel coronavirus savages the economy.
A Reuters survey this month showed a bipartisan majority of Americans want to continue to shelter in place to protect themselves from the coronavirus, despite the impact to the economy.
In the U.S., 45 states have full or partial stay-at-home orders in place that restrict all but the most essential employees from heading to their workplace. And while there are signs that those orders are helping reduce the number of Covid-19 cases, it has led to the most rapid shutdown of economic activity that the U.S., or even the global economy, has ever seen.
Roughly 22 million Americans have applied for unemployment over the past three weeks and experts are predicting that the U.S. will see double digit drops for gross domestic product (GDP) from April to June.