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The coronavirus’ human and economic toll continue to expand

The U.S. death toll from coronavirus is a number of epic proportions: more than 100,000. But health officials believe that even that staggering number may be an undercount due to testing shortages and incomplete reporting of cases. Meanwhile, the pandemic’s economic fallout continues to grow, with another 2.1 million Americans filing for unemployment in the past week. John Yang reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The toll of the COVID-19 pandemic is on vivid display again tonight.

    New numbers paint a stark picture of the cost to the nation in human and economic terms.

    John Yang begins our coverage.

  • John Yang:

    It's a death toll of epic proportions. More than 100,000 Americans have now lost their lives to the coronavirus.

    Health officials fear that, because of testing shortages and unreported cases, the actual number could be even higher. Newspapers from coast to coast marked the somber occasion by honoring the dead with tributes emblazoned across their front pages.

    President Trump acknowledged the toll in a tweet: "We have just reached a very sad milestone. I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy and love for everything that these great people stood for and represent."

  • White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany:

  • Secretary Kayleigh McEnany:

    The president recognized that landmark before we even hit it. The president, that was — after all, it was the impetus behind him lowering the flag to half-staff. He did that for several days.

    But the president has said one death is too many. He takes this very seriously. He said before this is the hardest part of his presidency. It's something that no one wanted to see happen.

  • John Yang:

    At least 44 of those deaths have been workers at meatpacking plants. The country's largest meatpacking union estimates that more than 3,000 of its workers have been infected by the virus.

    Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to inflict a devastating economic toll as well. The number of people losing jobs since the pandemic began hit nearly 41 million, with today's report that another 2.1 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.

    In Washington, the House tried to help, passing a bipartisan bill to make the terms of the Paycheck Protection Program more flexible and give small businesses more time to take advantage of federal loans. The measure now goes to the Senate.

    As companies slowly reopen their doors, some are looking to hire. But they're trying to do so smartly and safely, in Pasadena, California, an open-air job fair in a parking lot to maintain social distancing.

  • Jennifer Nichols:

    It's for safety. And I support everything about the safety and the health of everybody. And I am willing to do whatever it takes to keep everybody healthy and safe.

  • John Yang:

    Farther north in California, the Solano Town Center in Fairfield is back open for business. It's the first indoor mall to reopen in the San Francisco Bay Area, but foot traffic remains light.

  • Man:

    I'm not really worried as long, as I keep my distance from anyone.

  • John Yang:

    In Colorado, skiers can hit the slopes again at the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area in Summit County, but face masks are required and admittance is capped at 600 skiers a day.

  • Woman:

    It's great to get back out for sure. You know, I mean, it's just getting the legs back from noodles to muscle.

  • John Yang:

    Overseas, COVID-19 cases continued to spike in India today, with more than 6,500 new infections reported. The country's two-month-old lockdown is scheduled to end on Sunday.

    Spain is in the midst of a 10-day mourning period for the more than 27,000 lives that country lost to the virus. And, in Paris, health care workers and hundreds of their supporters protested outside a hospital to demand better work conditions.

  • Phillipe Tricaud (through translator):

    We are afraid that, ultimately, public hospitals will collapse. Health is everyone's matter, for you and for us, and we need to preserve it. It is one of the pillars of our democracy.

  • John Yang:

    That comes as the European commission in Brussels pledged to be better prepared in the future. It announced plans to set up a permanent stockpile of essential drugs and medical equipment.

  • Stella Kyriakides:

    Never again do we want to see our health care workers having to choose which patient receives lifesaving equipment.

  • John Yang:

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang.

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