US coronavirus death toll soars with 1,480 fatalities in 24 hours

The number of cases in the US is 277,467 as of Saturday morning

coronavirus-rep Representational image

The US recorded as many as 1,480 deaths from coronavirus between Thursday and Friday, the Johns Hopkins University tracker reported early on Saturday. This is the worst death toll in a 24-hour period since the coronavirus pandemic began.

In the past week, the US has become the focal point of the coronavirus pandemic, with as many as 277,467 cases as of early Saturday. The country has also witnessed 7,402 deaths from coronavirus.

Govt advocates masks, but Trump refuses

The US government on Friday advocated the use of masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, President Donald Trump said he himself won't wear one, saying the use of masks was only a "recommendation" by health experts.

Trump told mediapersons in the White House he could not see himself greeting "presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens in the Oval Office while wearing one".

Trump was quoted by BBC as saying, "I just don't want to be doing [that], somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful resolute desk, the great Resolute Desk. I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don't know somehow I don't see it for myself. I just don't. Maybe I'll change my mind."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday advised Americans to use clean cloth or fabric to cover their faces while in public.

Biden backs China travel restrictions

Meanwhile, the campaign team of Joe Biden, widely expected to be the Democratic Party's presidential candidate, on Friday announced that he supported a proposal by President Donald Trump to restrict travel from China.

Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield told CNN on Friday that the former vice president “supports travel bans that are guided by medical experts, advocated by public health officials and backed by a full strategy”.

“Science supported this ban, therefore he did too," Bedingfield said.

Trump has been critical of China, accusing it of suppressing the extent of the coronavirus outbreak.