Daily US Times: The US has passed the grim milestone of 100,000 coronavirus deaths in less than four months. The country has seen more fatalities than anywhere in the world, with 1.69 million confirmed infections account for about 30% of the worldwide total.
The US reported it’s first cases in Washington state on 21 January. Just less than four months, it crossed 100,000 mark.
Globally there have been 354,983 deaths and 5.6 million people recorded as infected since the virus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
According to Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, which has been tracking the pandemic, the US death toll stands at 100,276, it is almost the same as the number of American servicemen and women killed in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan over 44 years of fighting.
But, according to the university, on a per capita basis the US ranks ninth in its mortality rate behind the likes of Belgium, the United Kingdom, France and Ireland.
What’s the national picture?
At least twenty states reported a rise in new cases for the week ending on Sunday.
Arkansas, Wisconsin and North Carolina are among those seeing a steady rise in cases. The caseload remains stubbornly high in a number of metropolitan areas, including Los Angeles, Chicago and suburban Washington DC.
Some hard-hit states are seeing a drop in death rates, including New York, the country’s initial virus hot-bed, where 21,000 residents have died. The daily death toll was in hundreds during the peak of the crisis in the city.
Hospitals were overwhelmed and makeshift morgues were built outside health facilities.
What has been the political response?
President Donald Trump has claimed that without his administration’s actions, the death toll would be 25 times higher than today’s, though critics have accused him of a slow response.
State governors have also been blamed for failing to grasp early enough the lethal threat that the virus posed to nursing homes.
Mr Trump initially downplayed the pandemic, comparing it to the seasonal flu. In February, he said the virus is ”under control” and by April it could “miraculously go away”. He predicted 50,000-60,000 deaths due to the virus, then 60,000-70,000 and then “substantially under 100,000”.
This month, the President also argued it was “a badge of honour” that the country had the world’s highest number of confirmed infections “because it means our testing is much better”.
A study from New York’s Columbia University suggested about 36,000 fewer people would have died if the US had acted sooner. On Wednesday, former Vice President and Mr Trump’s likely Democratic challenger in November’s White House election issued a message directly to grieving families.
He tweets: “To those hurting, I’m so sorry for your loss. The nation grieves with you.”
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