US surges past 100,000 cases of COVID-19 after becoming world epicenter for virus

The United States has hit a landmark of more than 100,000 coronavirus infections, widening the gap over other afflicted nations as it solidifies its place as the world’s top hot spot for the lethal illness.

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With the latest update from Johns Hopkins University’s Covid-19 tracker, the US has tallied 100,717 cases of the virus, surpassing Italy, the next hardest-hit country, by more than 14,000 patients. Both have now overtaken China, where the outbreak originated, as new infections on the mainland continue to flatline.

News of the US reaching the new milestone in the coronavirus pandemic comes after US President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to force automakers to manufacture life-saving ventilators for Covid-19 patients who have developed severe complications from the illness.

In a bid to revitalize the US economy, badly crippled by coronavirus lockdowns that have sent unemployment claims surging to a record high of over three million, Trump also signed a $2.2 trillion stimulus and relief bill that was passed by the House earlier on Friday.

The US, along with several other hard-hit countries, including France and Italy, has turned to the military for help to push back against the Covid-19 spread. Friday also saw Trump signing an executive order greenlighting the call-up of up to one million reservists in the army, air force and coast guard.

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