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Coronavirus : 15,000 people in the US have now died from COVID-19, more than 24,000 have recovered

The United States has surpassed 15,000 deaths from the coronavirus as cases continue to increase, while more than 24,000 people have recovered nationwide.

One week ago, the death toll was nearing 6,000. But in the last two days, there have been nearly 2,000 deaths daily. Testing has become more available, contributing to the rise of confirmed cases.

In other news, U.S. stocks surged higher despite mind-numbing jobless numbers while some Americans could begin receiving stimulus checks Thursday.

Some of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet signaled frustration with lockdowns and stay-at-home orders: Attorney General William Barr called restrictions in many states “draconian;” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said parts of the economy could reopen by May.

The Dow was up more than 300 points. The Labor Department reported a staggering 6.6 million initial claims for unemployment insurance. And the saddest numbers: The U.S. death toll from the pandemic rocking the globe was nearing 15,000; there are now more than 432,000 confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard.

There was a silver lining: A University of Washington health research center dropped its estimated U.S. death total from the coronavirus, placing the likely toll by August at about 60,000. Worldwide, there are more than 1.5 million confirmed cases and more than 90,000 deaths. And the nation’s top health expert said he’s optimistic of a turnaround.