The number of deaths being attributed to the novel coronavirus has now exceeded 50,000, according to data maintained by Johns Hopkins University.
The staggering figure comes mere days after the death toll soared past 40,000 earlier this week, though tracking the true number of positive cases and deaths from covid-19 has proven difficult with limited testing. The Johns Hopkins University tool uses data from multiple local and national health authorities and other sources to track the spread of the disease, including known cases, recoveries, and fatalities.
Official figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, updated as of Thursday afternoon, were not far behind. The health agency placed the number of known deaths at just below 49,000 as of its most recent tally, with the majority of deaths in New York, where the spread of the disease has been especially bad. Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that deaths from New York State alone have now reached 16,162.
“Again, this is at an unimaginable level, and it’s dropping somewhat. But it’s still devastating news,” Cuomo said during his daily press briefing. While the state has seen its lowest number of reported deaths in a 24-hour period in nearly a month this week, the number reported Thursday still stood at 422.
The figures come as a miracle treatment for the deadly disease has failed to materialize. In addition, CDC Director Robert Redfield said this week that a second wave of coronavirus this fall and winter could be “more difficult” if it occurs simultaneously with the annual flu season—a situation that could present a dire strain on an already overwhelmed healthcare system buckling under the current covid-19 crisis.
After a bizarre insinuation by President Donald Trump that Redfield had been improperly cited, Redfield repeated the concern again during a coronavirus press briefing. The agency director added that people in the U.S. will need to be diligent about getting their flu vaccines this year, which will be of paramount importance to freeing up resources for hospitals and healthcare workers who may be battling the two at once.