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U.S. coronavirus death toll passes 100,000 milestone

The coronavirus pandemic has reached a fearsome new milestone as of Wednesday night -- 100,000 U.S. lives lost. That number exceeds all the American dead in the Korean and Vietnam Wars combined. Although the House of Representatives made history by allowing proxy votes for the first time to avoid travel amid the pandemic, businesses across the country continued to reopen. Lisa Desjardins reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The coronavirus pandemic has reached a fearsome new number tonight: 100,000 lives lost in the United States.

    It is more than all the American dead in the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War combined.

    Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage of this day's events.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    The U.S. death toll has now reached staggering highs, but, every day, more communities are moving to reopen for business.

    In Orange, California, Stacy Hewett is getting ready to reopen her salon and spa, with a new check-in for customers.

  • Stacy Hewett:

    Their temperature will be taken. They will be handed a handout on our protocols that will be implemented in the salon. Their hands will be sanitized, and they will be escorted back to their seat.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    In neighboring Nevada, casinos will be back up and running June 4, after a 10-week shutdown. Florida's tourism industry is hopeful about July, after Disney announced plans to reopen some of its Orlando theme parks July 11, with requirements for face masks, temperature checks and social distance.

    And in Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser announced she will lift the district's stay-at-home order Friday.

  • Mayor Muriel Bowser:

    So, as we begin reopening, it cannot be said enough that every single one of us has a role to play in protecting ourselves and each other.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    But it wasn't business as usual on Capitol Hill today.

    The House of Representatives allowed proxy voting for the first time in its 231-year history. Lawmakers could ask another member to cast their vote for them.

  • Man:

    I inform the House that he will vote yay.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    House Republicans have filed a lawsuit arguing the procedure is unconstitutional.

  • House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney:

  • Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.:

    So, instead of going down the path of saying, how can we do this together, the Democrats have adopted a completely partisan scheme, and they have done it in a way that absolutely infringes on the rights of the minority and infringes on the Constitution.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    While the U.S. looks to reopen, COVID-19 cases are spiking around the world, including in previous hot spots.

    South Korea reported its highest number of new cases in weeks. Many of the infections were linked to an outbreak at an e-commerce warehouse.

  • Kim Kang Lip (through translator):

    We are very nervous about community infections, and we are keeping a close eye on the situation. We are doing our best to prevent the further spread of infection through fast contact tracing and testing.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    India logged a new record number of daily infections as well, as its overall caseload topped 150,000. And with coronavirus cases surging across Latin America, hospitals in Brazil, Mexico, and Chile are struggling to keep up with the huge influx in patients.

    Meanwhile, hospitals in France will no longer use the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. The country banned it after a study found it wasn't effective and posed serious health risks, this as the European Union unveiled an $825 billion fund help its 25 member states rebuild their struggling economies.

  • Ursula Von Der Leyen (through translator):

    Tomorrow, the cost of inaction in this crisis will be much more expensive. This is about laying the foundations for our future together and, at the same time, to react appropriately to a clearly defined, extraordinary crisis situation, through no fault of our own.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    They're not alone. Japan, the world's third largest economy, injected one trillion more dollars into its economy to help bounce back from its recession. The move effectively doubles the country's stimulus spending.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Lisa Desjardins.

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