U.S. coronavirus deaths topped 47,000 on Wednesday after rising by a near-record single-day number the previous day, according to a Reuters tally.
A University of Washington model, often cited by the White House, projected a total of nearly 66,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths by Aug. 4, an upward revision from its most recent previous estimate of 60,000 deaths. At current rates, U.S. deaths could reach 50,000 later this week.
The first U.S. coronavirus death happened weeks earlier than previously believed, according to California county health officials who conducted two autopsies. The first U.S. death was on Feb. 6, instead of Feb. 29, they reported.
In the weeks since, the U.S. death toll has soared to the highest in the world. U.S. deaths increased by 2,792 on Tuesday alone, just shy of a peak of 2,806 deaths in a single day on April 15.
Deaths in New York state, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, continued to decline with 474 new deaths on Wednesday. However, some nearby states such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey reported record single-day deaths tolls on Tuesday.
Health officials have said that deaths are a lagging indicator of the outbreak, coming weeks after patients fall sick, and do not mean stay-at-home restrictions are failing to slow the spread of the virus.
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The United States has by far the world's largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases at over 815,000, almost four times as many as Spain, the country with the second-highest number.
U.S. cases rose by 25,000 to over 810,000 on Tuesday, one of the smallest increases seen so far in April.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday applauded steps taken by a handful of Republican-led U.S. states, including Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, to start reopening their economies despite warnings of a potential fresh surge of coronavirus infections.