‘The Worst Is Yet to Come’

(AP) — As hot spots flared around the United States in New Orleans, Detroit and Southern California, New York was the hardest hit of all, with bodies loaded onto refrigerated morgue trucks by gurney and forklift outside overwhelmed hospitals. And the worst is yet to come, with Vice President Mike Pence comparing the U.S. trajectory to that of Italy.

Experts warned that there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. even if social-distancing guidelines are maintained. America already has more than 4,000 dead from the outbreak.

Here is a roundup of the latest news on the pandemic.

The Yangtze River in Wuhan, China, a city of 11 million, where the Covid-19 virus emerged. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Scientists offered more evidence Wednesday that the coronavirus is spread by seemingly healthy people who show no clear symptoms, leading the federal government to issue new guidance warning that anyone exposed to the disease can be considered a carrier.

The majority of Americans approve of how state and local governments are handling the coronavirus outbreak, but fewer than half say the same about President Trump and the federal government, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

U.S. stocks and markets around the world fell sharply Wednesday as the economic and physical toll mount — and as experts say they still can’t predict when it will end. The global economy could shrink by almost 1% this year instead of growing at a projected 2.5%, according to a report Wednesday from the United Nations.

Pence said the White House models for the coronavirus outbreak show the country on a trajectory akin to hard-hit Italy. He referred to the prediction models unveiled Tuesday by the White House that project 100,000 to 240,000 U.S. deaths in the pandemic. Those figures assume that the country maintains rigorous social-distancing practices for the duration of the public health crisis.

Background checks required to buy guns spiked to record numbers in March, fueled by a run on guns. The 3.7 million background checks done in March were the most for a single month since the system began in 1998, FBI figures show.

The Grand Canyon closed to visitors Wednesday as Interior Secretary David Bernhardt finally approved the national park’s request at the recommendation of a local health official who said keeping the park open puts employees, residents and tourists at risk. It joins a growing list of national parks shutting their gates to prevent the spread of the coronavirus despite Bernhardt’s decision two weeks ago to waive entrance fees to make it easier to enjoy the parks.

The IRS and the Treasury Department say Americans will start receiving their economic impact checks in the next three weeks.

U.S. companies shed 27,000 jobs in March, according to a private survey, a figure that mostly reflected the economy as it stood before the full impact of the viral outbreak.

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