The toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States has surpassed 50,000 on Friday, doubling in 10 days, Reuters reported, citing its tally. The country has over 8,75,000 confirmed cases and over 3,000 deaths have been reported in a single day.

State officials have warned about the shortage of trained workers to deal with the crisis. The deaths in the country is also said to be higher, as most states only count hospital and nursing home victims and not those who died at home. About 40% of the deaths have occurred in New York state, the epicenter of the outbreak, followed by New Jersey, Michigan and Massachusetts.

The country now has by far the highest deaths and case count in the world. However, the US still has a lower fatality rate than most European countries, based on the current case counts, reported BBC. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the coronavirus has killed more people in the United States than the seasonal flu in seven out of nine recent seasons.

Meanwhile, Georgia, Oklahoma and a handful of other states took the first tentative steps to allow the reopening of businesses on Friday, despite the disapproval of President Donald Trump. Health experts and some governors have warned that a premature easing of restrictions on movement could trigger a surge in new cases.

Trump claims Covid-19 disinfectant idea was sarcasm

On Thursday, Trump had sparked fresh controversy over the prospects of treating Covid-19, suggesting that scientists should investigate whether patients might be cured by “injecting disinfectants” into their bodies. A day later, the president sought to portray his remarks as sarcasm, AFP reported.

“I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you, just to see what would happen,” he told journalists at the White House on Friday.

The comments prompted doctors and health experts to warn the public not to drink or inject disinfectant. Lysol and Dettol maker Reckitt Benckiser issued a statement following Trump’s remarks. “Under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body [through injection, ingestion or any other route],” Reckitt Benckiser said.

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FDA warns against use of hydroxychloroquine

Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday cautioned against the use of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus patients, AP reported. The regulators highlighted reports of sometimes fatal heart side effects among coronavirus patients after taking hydroxychloroquine or the related drug chloroquine. Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has no approved treatment or vaccine. However, some reports claim that hydroxychloroquine could alter the course, but scientists have said there is no conclusive evidence yet of its effectiveness.

“It is important that healthcare providers are aware of the risks of serious and potentially life-threatening heart rhythm problems that can occur with these drugs,” the FDA said in a statement. However, the agency did not specify the number of reports it has received of side effects or deaths.

“You hear it both ways,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday after the FDA announcement. “I’m not a doctor. A study has to be done. If it helps, it’s great. If it doesn’t work, don’t do it.”

Globally, Covid-19 has infected more than 27.90 lakh people and caused over 1.95 lakh deaths in 185 countries or regions, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.