Coronavirus deaths surged past 100,000 in Europe as the world's top musicians joined forces for a virtual concert, hoping to spread cheer to billions stuck at home under lockdown.
A-listers, including the Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Stevie Wonder and teen superstar Billie Eilish, entertained fans with a six-hour online extravaganza celebrating health care workers.
The event, set up by advocacy group Global Citizen with the World Health Organization (WHO), aimed to cultivate a sense of community during the pandemic, which has ravaged the global economy with nearly 2.3 million confirmed infections in total.
A total of 160,502 fatalities have been registered out of 2,331,318 cases, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) tally yesterday. These include 101,398 deaths and 1,151,820 infections in Europe, the continent hardest hit by the virus.
The United States is the country with the most reported deaths at 39,090, followed by Italy with 23,227, Spain 20,453, France 19,323 and Britain 15,464.
The highly contagious disease first emerged late last year in the city of Wuhan in central China. It was likely transmitted to humans at a market where exotic animals were slaughtered, Chinese scientists have said.
Conspiracy theories that the virus came from a maximum-security laboratory have been brought into the mainstream in recent days by U.S. government officials.
The U.S. has the highest caseload of any country, with more than 735,000 confirmed infections, and by Sunday had lost 38,910 people to the virus, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.
Progress was marked in some places, with New York state reporting the lowest number of deaths in weeks, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo attributed largely to social distancing.
But as Americans and others around the world chafe after weeks under stay-at-home orders, resentment is rising.
Anti-lockdown protests on Saturday drew hundreds of people at the capitols of states including Texas, Maryland, New Hampshire and Ohio. Many demonstrators waved American flags and some carried firearms.
The small but spreading movement demanding a quick end to state-ordered confinement drew encouragement from President Donald Trump, who tweeted that three states should be "liberated" from the stay-home orders.
The president has called for a rapid return to normality to limit damage to the U.S. economy, while largely leaving the final decision on easing lockdowns to state officials.
At a White House briefing, Trump also warned that China could face consequences if it was "knowingly responsible" for the coronavirus outbreak.
"It could have been stopped in China before it started, and it wasn't," Trump said. "And now the whole world is suffering."
"If it was a mistake, a mistake is a mistake," he said. "But if they were knowingly responsible, yeah, then there should be consequences."
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