country, and the number is expected to grow exponentially in the coming weeks.
Lost in the dizzying numbers are the names, faces and stories of the victims. The virus has taken young and old, rich and poor. Most of the deaths have occurred in the New York area, which has become the epicentre of the outbreak.
Elizabeth Fusco, from New Jersey, saw her whole family ripped apart by the coronavirus in the space of a few days. First, she lost her elder sister, then her brother, followed by her elderly mother and her other brother.
The infections appear to have originated from a large family dinner of some 20 people on March 3, a regular event for the close-knit Italian-American family.
“It’s absolutely surreal,” Ms Fusco told CNN. “They were the roots of our lives … It’s like the second we start to grieve about one, the phone rings and there’s another person gone, taken from us forever.”
Her mother, 73-year-old Grace Fusco, was not aware that two of her children had died before she passed. The mother of 11, and grandmother of 27, was placed on a ventilator after she had trouble breathing, but later died.
The disease has particularly impacted the elderly. A 91-year-old New York rabbi who was credited with saving 56 families during the Holocaust died due to complications caused by Covid-19.
Rabbi Avraham Hakohen Cohn was born in Czechoslovakia and was only 10-years-old when the Nazis invaded. He later joined a Jewish partisan group and wrote about his experience as a young fighter in his memoir: ‘The Youngest Partisan: A Young Boy Who Fought the Nazis.’
After the Holocaust, he immigrated to the US and lived in New York. Earlier this year he delivered a prayer at a US House ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation.
Congressman Max Rose, who invited Rabbi Cohn to speak at the House, said he was “heartbroken” to hear of his death.
“Rabbi Cohn lived an incredible life of service, helping 56 families escape Nazi tyranny. 2 months after he led the House in opening prayer, I hope you’ll join me in praying for him & his family,” he wrote on Twitter.
In Seattle, Washington — another coronavirus hotspot — one of the worst outbreaks of the coronavirus occurred in a nursing home. A shocking 34 residents and one visitor to the centre have died due to the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the infection at the Life Care facility was likely caused by a sick staff member.
Among the victims was 75-year-old Barbara Dreyfus — who became only the eighth person to die of the coronavirus. Her son, Doug Briggs, described to Reuters how he held his mother’s hand with a latex glove and played her favourite music as she passed away.
Seventy-two-year-old Darlene Kimball, another resident of the care home, began complaining of chest pains in late February. As a sufferer of ovarian cancer, she was particularly at risk from the coronavirus. She had gone to the LifeCare to seek long-term care for her condition. Described by her family as an avid gardener and an animal lover, the grandmother of five was diagnosed with pneumonia and moved to a hospice. She was given a coronavirus test, tested positive, and died a day later.
While much of the country has been told to stay at home and self-isolate to avoid infection, medical workers on the frontline of the crisis have no choice but to continue — putting themselves at great risk. Doctors and nurses across the country have reported that they lack the proper equipment to protect themselves against the virus.
Kious Jordan Kelly was an assistant nurse manager at Mt Sinai West hospital in New York. In the days before his death, staff at the hospital had posted pictures of themselves wearing garbage bags for protection because they had run out of equipment.
Mr Kelly, 48, had severe asthma, but was otherwise healthy, according to his sister.
“This growing crisis is not abating and has already devastated hundreds of families in New York and turned our frontline professionals into true American heroes,” the hospital said in a statement. “Today, we lost another hero — a compassionate colleague, friend and selfless caregiver.”
Many others who could not afford to stay home from work, or who provide an essential service, have also died from the virus. On Monday, New York’s Metropolitan Transport Authority announced the deaths of five of its workers.
Scott Elijah, was a track worker based in Long Island City, Queens. Caridad Santiago worked as a cleaner for 13 years, working in the stations department in the Bronx. Ernesto Hernandez, a bus driver for 15 years, worked out of a Brooklyn bus depot. Victor Zapana, a station supervisor, worked in various subway stations throughout his 30 years of service. And Warren Tucker, was a bus mechanic out of Brooklyn.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Sunday that the US could see between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths before the outbreak is contained.