US coronavirus death toll passes 1,000 as Senate approves economic rescue package

Samuel Osborne
AFP via Getty Images

The US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has topped 1,000.

The number of dead in the US rose to 1,041 on Wednesday, with nearly 70,000 people infected with Covid-19.

In recognition of the scale of the threat, the US Senate passed a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems.

Donald Trump, the US president, has called for Americans to observe social distancing for 15 days, including staying at home from work and closing bars and restaurants.

However, he has also said ”our country wasn’t built to be shut down” and vowed not to allow “the cure be worse than the problem”.

The president appeared concerned the outbreak’s devastating effects on financial markets and employment will harm his chances at re-election later this year.

“The LameStream Media is the dominant force in trying to get me to keep our Country closed as long as possible in the hope that it will be detrimental to my election success,” Mr Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

Democrats argued Mr Trump was prioritising the economy over the health and safety of Americans.

“I’d like to say, let’s get back to work next Friday,” said Joe Biden, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. “That’d be wonderful. But it can’t be arbitrary.”