Millions of jobless seek help as 1,000 die in U.S.

CBS NEWS

The U.S. coronavirus death toll has sailed past 1,000 as the closure of businesses aimed at stemming the spread of the new disease drives an unprecedented number of Americans to apply for unemployment benefits. The number of COVID-19 cases across the country is fast approaching 70,000, forcing leaders to grapple with how much to restrict Americans’ lives to slow the spread.

Doctors and epidemiologists say the closures and other social distancing measures work, and while President Trump hopes to ease restrictions on businesses to start reviving the U.S. economy by Easter, other countries — even further down the road in their outbreaks — are considering extending their lockdowns.

As hospital ICUs and morgues began filling up in some cities, the Senate passed an unprecedented $2 trillion relief package to help workers, businesses and the severely strained health care system survive the pandemic.

COVID-19 has killed more than 22,000 people worldwide and infected almost 490,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.