20,000: US death toll overtakes Italy’s as Midwest braces

  • A man and child wearing protective masks pass an encouraging message ‘Chicago Stay Strong,’ chalked outside on a Roscoe Village neighborhood pub by artist Heather Gentile Collins, while people continue to contract COVID-19 in Chicago, Saturday, April 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO — The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus eclipsed Italy’s for the highest in the world Saturday, surpassing 20,000, as Chicago and other cities across the Midwest braced for a potential surge in victims and moved to snuff out smoldering hot spots of contagion before they erupt.