March 22, 2020
Italian Officials officials reported 627 more coronavirus related deaths on Friday, a rise of 15 percent in 24 hours.
People walk along Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Scott Olson / Getty Images
By Minyvonne Burke and Isobel van Hagen | NBC News
At least 75 million Americans are under virtual lockdown after Illinois became the latest state to issue a stay-at-home order in a bid to fight against the spread of the coronavirus.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the decision at his state at a press conference Friday afternoon, around 24 hours after a similar order was issued for California’s 40 million-strong population and New York’s governor mandated that all nonessential businesses keep workers at home. Pennsylvania’s governor has also ordered that all businesses that are not “life-sustaining” close.
In the U.S., California and New York are the most highly populated states under lockdown, with 40 million and 19.5 million people respectively. Connecticut has a population of 3.5 million and Illinois has about 13 million residents. These 75 million confined people make up more than a fifth of the entire U.S. population.
Similar measures have been implemented across Europe, as the spread of the viruses increases across the continent, but in Italy where huge swathes of the country have been under lockdown for almost two weeks officials reported 627 more coronavirus related deaths on Friday, a rise of 15 percent from Thursday.
It brought the total number dead to 4,032 — the biggest day-to-day increase in the country during the outbreak.
Europe’s second worst affected country, Spain, also saw its death toll surpass 1,300 on Saturday, while in Germany, the number of confirmed cases in Germany rose by 2,705 within a day to reach 16,662 on Saturday. The country’s 83 million citizens also face the potential of a nation-wide lock down starting next week, officials in the country said.
Back in the United States, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he had not come to the decision about stay-at-home orders easily.
“I fully recognize that in some cases, I am choosing between saving people’s lives and saving people’s livelihoods. But ultimately you can’t have a livelihood if you don’t have your life,” he told reporters.
Pritzker said residents will be able to leave their homes to do normal tasks like buying food, picking up a prescription at the pharmacy or going for a walk.
Despite states beginning to implement tough social distancing measures, President Donald Trump said on Friday that he did not think a national lockdown would be necessary.
As of Saturday, there are more than 275,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.
— Isobel van Hagen