At least 3,332 new coronavirus deaths were reported in the United States in a 24-hour period, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, one of the deadliest days since the outbreak began. The total death toll in the country has reached 49,963 amid over 869,000 cases.
26 million people have sought US jobless aid in the past five weeks since the coronavirus hit. About one in six American workers have lost their jobs, by far the worst string of layoffs since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives on Thursday passed a nearly $500bn spending package to help businesses and hospitals, bringing the unprecedented total of funds approved for the crisis to nearly $3 trillion.
The measure was approved with solid bipartisan support in the Democratic-led House, but opposition by some members of both parties forced legislators to return to Washington despite stay-at-home orders intended to control the spread of the virus.
The Republican-led Senate passed the legislation on Tuesday, so approval by the House will send it the White House, where President Donald Trump has promised to quickly sign it into law.
More than 190,000 people have died due to the pandemic, including about 50,000 in the US, with 2.7 million infected globally, out of whom almost 750,000 have recovered.
Testing of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine began on healthy volunteers at University of Oxford in Britain, the latest in a cluster of early-stage studies in search of protection against the coronavirus.
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) says there are "worrying upward trends" in early epidemics in parts of Africa and Central and South America, warning that the "virus will be with us for a long time".
(With inputs from News Agencies)
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