U.S. coronavirus deaths surpass Vietnam War toll as Florida readies reopening plan

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(Reuters) – The U.S. coronavirus death toll climbed above 58,000 on Tuesday, surpassing the loss of American life from the Vietnam War, as Florida’s governor met with President Donald Trump to discuss an easing of economic restraints.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, among the latest to lock down his state against the pandemic, has been weighing whether to join other states in a relaxation of workplace restrictions and stay-at-home orders that have been credited with slowing the contagion but which have battered the economy. 

DeSantis’ meeting at the White House came as Florida reported its highest single-day death toll from the coronavirus, and two days before Florida’s stay-at-home order was due to expire.

Public health experts have warned that a premature rollback of social-distancing policies could trigger a resurgence of infections just when those restrictions are showing signs of bringing the outbreak under control. 

While DeSantis’ state has so far been spared the worst of the pandemic, Florida reported a record 83 new deaths and more than 700 new infections from the previous 24 hours on Tuesday. The state has so far tallied 32,846 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, including 1,171 deaths.

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