Trump claims coronavirus cases are plateauing in US

AFP  | Deccan Chronicle

World, America

The US death toll has hit 23,200 -- by far the worst-affected country.

File image of US President Donald Trump.

Washington: Coronavirus deaths in the hard-hit United States were flat for a second consecutive day, with New York's governor saying the "worst is over".

Since emerging late last year, the coronavirus pandemic has killed around 120,000 and infected nearly two million, tipping the world towards a fierce economic recession as more than half of the globe hunkers down at home.

In Washington, Trump stunned reporters by playing a campaign-style self-congratulatory video and lashing out at the media during a briefing in which he claimed to have saved "tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of lives".

The US death toll has hit 23,200 -- by far the worst-affected country -- but the president said: "It looks like we're plateauing, and maybe even in many cases coming down."

He has repeatedly stressed he wants to open the world's largest economy as swiftly as possible and is expected to announce a plan this week on how to jump-start stalled business.

The president appeared to be supported by the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University showing 1,509 deaths in the country over the past 24 hours -- almost identical to the previous day.

In New York, where the virus has killed more than 10,000 people and seen unclaimed victims buried in unmarked mass graves, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the nightmare might be coming to an end for the city.

"The worst is over if we continue to be smart going forward. I believe we can now start on the path to normalcy," Cuomo told reporters, as Trump said only the president had "the ultimate authority" to reopen businesses.

The economic impact of the crisis in the US and elsewhere could be seen as officials in the southern city of Houston wrapped food in plastic bags and threw them into cars.

"We went to the stores and they are closed. Yes, we had problems to buy food," said sales assistant Catalina Mendoza Cabrera.