NEW YORK: The total number of coronavirus cases in the United States (US) has climbed to 550,000, the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University confirmed.
According to the CSSE, the outbreak has now claimed the lives of at least 22,020 people in the US, the most of any country.
The state of New York recorded 189,020 cases with a death toll of 9,385, New Jersey 61,850 cases and 2,350 deaths whereas Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California, Illinois and Louisiana have reported over 20,000 cases each.
The Americans spent a glum Easter largely confined to their homes by the still-raging coronavirus pandemic.
With 42 states imposing strict stay-at-home orders most churches were shuttered, although many erected crosses outside or even offered drive-through services conducted by priests, pastors or ministers wearing latex gloves and surgical masks.
Other Americans turned to online church services to mark the holiest day in the Christian calendar.
In some states, attempts by authorities to clamp down on Easter services have sparked legal battles over the rights of government to prevent Americans from attending church, even under pandemic conditions.
On the other hand, the Trump administration sees May 1 as a potential date for easing the restrictions, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Stephen Hahn, said on Sunday. But he cautioned that it was still too early to say whether that goal would be met.
“We see light at the end of the tunnel,” Hahn told ABC’s “This Week,” adding, “Public safety and the welfare of the American people has to come first. That has to ultimately drive these decisions.”