Coronavirus: U.S. deaths top 1,000

March 25 (UPI) — The death toll in the United States from the coronavirus has topped 1,000 as the outbreak appears to be deepening across the country.

According to a live tracker of multiple medical and government sources by Johns Hopkins University, the death toll reached 1,041 late Wednesday after the United States experienced more than 200 deaths — its deadliest day yet.

More than 68,960 people in the country have been confirmed infected with the virus, according to the tracker, with New York state recording nearly half of those cases. The state recorded 5,000 new infections in the past 24 hours.

The growing epidemic in the United States has millions of Americans in 20 states and several cities and regions under orders to stay home to stop the spread of the virus.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday approved Florida’s and Texas’ requests for disaster declarations, a day after he approved those for Louisiana and Iowa. The president said he has now approved them for seven states.

States have also been shutting the doors of thier schools amid the outbreak, with Maryland on Wednesday extending its closure.

Maryland State Superintendent Karen Salmon announced that schools would be closed for an additional four weeks until April 24 on Wednesday, the state’s 386th birthday.

The state confirmed its first cases of COVID-19 20 days ago, and on Wednesday, its Department of Health confirmed it now had 423 cases and four deaths.

“The reality is this crisis is really just beginning here in our state and across America,” Gov. Larry Hogan said during a press conference Wednesday, warning his citizens that the numbers are going to increase and for residents to stay home.

In California, where there are more than 3,100 cases of COVID-19 based on the university’s tracker, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday more than 1 million Californians have filed for unemployment in the state since March 13.

Last Thursday, Newsom ordered the state’s 40 million residents to stay home, a move that came several days after San Francisco and several nearby counties had ordered their populations to “shelter in place.”

Newsom expressed his gratitude to the lawmakers in the Senate who passed a $2.2 trillion relief bill, stating that it contains $10 billion specifically for California.

He said he is “very pleased” with the up to $600 monthly increase to unemployment insurance benefits that will help those people now out of work due to the coronavirus.

“This bill will be very helpful and is very timely,” he said, adding “this can not happen soon enough.”

Newsom also announced Wednesday that he had secured agreements with Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Wells Faro and some 200 state-chartered banks and credit unions to offer a 90-day grace period for mortgage payments.

“These new financial protections will provide relief to California families and serve as a model for the rest of the nation,” Newsom said in a statement.