WASHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday posted nearly 2,600 additional deaths from COVID-19 in 24 hours, a new record and the heaviest daily toll of any country, Johns Hopkins University said.
A running tally from Johns Hopkins showed 2,569 victims at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time (0030 GMT Thursday), compared with the same time the previous evening, bringing the total number of US deaths to 28,326 — higher than any other nation.
The figures came after President Donald Trump earlier in the evening said “the data suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak on new cases,” and he will announce Thursday the first plans for lifting coronavirus lockdowns.
According to Johns Hopkins, the number of cases in the US reached 636,350.
Trump blasted for credit-grabbing
Meanwhile, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed Donald Trump as “shameful” Wednesday after it emerged that the president’s name will be printed on stimulus checks, potentially delaying payments to Americans struggling during the coronavirus crisis.
The Treasury Department confirmed to AFP that Trump’s name will be printed on paper checks of up to $1,200 that soon will be rushed out to tens of millions of people.
The unprecedented Treasury order could delay the check process by a few days, The Washington Post reported late Tuesday, citing senior Internal Revenue Service officials.
“Delaying direct payments to vulnerable families just to print his name on the check is another shameful example of President Trump’s catastrophic failure to treat this crisis with the urgency it demands,” Pelosi said in a statement.
Other Democratic lawmakers and members of the public joined in the criticism online, some attacking Trump for politicizing an election-year crisis.
The president downplayed the controversy when asked about it during his evening press conference.
“Well I don’t know too much about it but I understand my name is there,” Trump said.
“I don’t know where they’re going, how they’re going. I do understand it’s not delaying anything and I’m satisfied with that.”
He added: “I don’t imagine it’s a big deal. I’m sure people will be very happy to get a big fat beautiful check and my name is on it.”
The payments stem from a $2 trillion emergency rescue package crafted by congressional Democrats, Republicans and the White House that Trump signed into law in late March.
The massive bill, the largest of its kind ever passed by Congress, was aimed at delivering urgently needed relief to millions of American families and businesses devastated by the deadly pandemic.
Trump himself had said on April 3 that he was not interested in signing the checks.
“It’s a Trump administration initiative, but do I want to sign them? No,” he said during a daily coronavirus task force briefing.
The checks feature Trump’s name, not his signature.