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COVID Death Toll Close To 86,000 In US; Infection Rates Rise

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After a temporary dip, the coronavirus infections are rising for the third consecutive day in the United States, with the total death toll nearing 86,000.

With 1858 more people reported dead in the last 24 hours, the total death toll in the country reached 85,906. An additional 26,768 new cases took the total number of infections to 1,417,889, as of John Hopkins' 6:00 a.m. ET update on Friday.

The situation is dire in New York, the epicenter of the country's outbreak, where more than 343,000 cases have been reported and 27,461 have died since March 14.

When adjusted for population, that translates to about 1,763 known cases and 142 deaths for every 100,000 residents in the state, a CNN report says. This is higher than the total numbers in both categories reported in Spain, the world's third worst affected country.

The death toll in New Jersey, the second worst-affected state, is fast approaching the 10,000 mark. A total of 9946 deaths and 142704 infections have been reported there so far.

16 states have reported more than 1000 deaths due to the deadly virus in the U.S.

Michigan (4787 deaths, 49582 infections), Massachusetts (5482 deaths and 82182 infections), Louisiana (2417 deaths, 33489 infections), Illinois (3928 death, 87937 infections), Pennsylvania (4288 deaths, 63105 infections), California (3052 deaths, 74871 infections) Connecticut (3219 deaths, 35464 infections) Texas (1235 deaths, 44485 infections), Georgia (1545 deaths, 35977 infections), Maryland (1866 deaths, 35903 infections), Florida (1875 deaths, 43210), Indiana (1646 deaths, 26053 infections) Ohio (1534 deaths, 26357 infections) and Colorado (1086 deaths, 20838 infections) are the worst-affected states.

Reports quoting health officials say the number of reported cases and deaths is much lower than the actual toll because of differences in reporting.

In other important developments in the country, a top government scientist who was fired by Trump last month, has warned that the country could face its "darkest winter in modern history" because of the coronavirus.

Testifying at House health subcommittee hearing, Dr. Rick Bright said the coronavirus outbreak would "get worse and be prolonged" if the government did not swiftly adopt a national testing strategy.

Dr. Bright was head of the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency that was trying to develop a vaccine against the deadly virus.

Senate intelligence committee chief Richard Burr said he is stepping down to give space for an insider trading inquiry against him. FBI is investigating an allegation that Burr used inside information to avoid market losses from coronavirus.

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