According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the death toll from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the US as of Friday, April 24, surpassed 50,000 after a further 3332 deaths were confirmed in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 50,890. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has reached 889,661.
Despite the rising death toll, some state governors have begun reopening of certain business sectors. In Georgia, Oklahoma, and Alaska, some non-essential businesses including sports halls, hairdressers and beauty salons were allowed to reopen on Friday. The resumption of these businesses is subject to them complying with strict health and safety guidelines. Texas, Florida, and Mississippi governors are expected to announce similar relaxations of restrictions in the coming days.
Protesters denounced US COVID-19 restrictions in the states of Washington, Colorado, and Arizona on Sunday, April 19, and in Vermont state on Monday, April 20. Most reported protests took place at state capitols, where groups gathered to demonstrate their opposition to stay-at-home orders. Minor skirmishes between protesters and police were reported. Similar protests are likely across the US as COVID-19-shutdown measures continue.
On Thursday, April 16, New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the extension of the state's shutdown measures until Friday, May 15. The East Coast states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Delaware have also extended their lockdown measures, most through early May. Also, on Thursday, Idaho state extended its stay-at-home orders through Thursday, April 30, and imposed a measure requiring any non-resident who enters the state to undergo a two-week self-quarantine period. On Friday, April 10, Los Angeles (California state) authorities announced an extension to the current stay-at-home order until Friday, May 15.
The US-Canada border has been closed to all nonessential travel since Friday, March 20. On Saturday, April 18, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada and the US agreed to extend the closure for an additional 30 days from April 20. The US and Mexico also closed their shared border to nonessential travel from Saturday, March 21; the American-Mexican border closure that was set to expire on April 20 has been extended for an additional 30 days.
Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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