U.S. death toll tops 100,000

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Image: Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America
Medical workers walk outside a special coronavirus area at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York on May 26, 2020.Spencer Platt / Getty Images

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The United States surpassed 100,000 coronavirus deaths as of Wednesday afternoon, according to NBC News' count, becoming the first country to reach the grim milestone.

The U.S. leads the world in both deaths and confirmed cases, with 1.69 million infections. Among the infected are more than 62,000 doctors, nurses and other health care providers on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. At least 291 have died.

Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments:

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Chile says it's nearly out of ICU space

SANTIAGO, Chile — Chilean authorities say intensive care units in the country’s hospitals are nearly at capacity amid a flood of coronavirus patients, and some doctors report they are having to make wrenching choices over which patients should get available beds.

Health officials said Tuesday that 95 percent of the country’s 2,400 ICU beds are occupied, even after a doubling of capacity from the levels in March. They announced plans to add 400 more critical care beds in the coming days.

The nation of 18 million people has the third most coronavirus cases in the region, after Brazil and Peru. An average of 4,000 new infections are being reported daily. About 15 percent of the cases require hospitalization.

Sweden steadfast in strategy as toll continues climbing

STOCKHOLM — Sweden’s government defended its response to the COVID-19 global pandemic Tuesday despite the Scandinavian country now reporting one of the highest mortality rates in the world with 4,125 fatalities, or about 40 deaths per 100,000 people.

“Transmission is slowing down, the treatment of COVID-19 patients in intensive care is decreasing significantly, and the rising death toll curve has been flattened,” Foreign Minister Ann Linde told foreign correspondents at a briefing in Stockholm. “There is no full lockdown of Sweden, but many parts of the Swedish society have shut down.”

More than 76,000 people have been made redundant since the outbreak of the disease and unemployment, which now stands at 7.9 percent, is expected to climb higher.

Sweden took a relatively soft approach to fighting the coronavirus, one that attracted international attention. Large gatherings were banned, but restaurants and schools for younger children have stayed open. The government has urged social distancing, and Swedes have largely complied.

Los Angeles allows all retail businesses, houses of worship to reopen

After weeks of public health restrictions over the coronavirus epidemic, all retail business in Los Angeles will be allowed to welcome customers back inside, and houses of worship can resume in-person services, the mayor announced Tuesday.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said some restrictions will remain for retail and churches, like limiting the number of people inside.

"We're not moving beyond COVID-19, but we're learning to live with it," Garcetti said.

Places like barbershops and hair salons remain closed, and in-restaurant dining is not yet allowed. 

The news that retail businesses and houses of worship could reopen or resume in-person services comes a day after the state announced they could resume under certain restrictions if county health officials approved. The restrictions on places like churches include having less than 25 percent capacity or 100 people inside, whichever is less.