World

US death toll from coronavirus hits 200,000

The US death toll from the coronavirus topped 200,000 on Tuesday, by far the highest in the world.

“It is completely unfathomable that we’ve reached this point,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins University public health researcher, eight months after the scourge first reached the world’s richest nation.

The number of dead is equivalent to a 9/11 attack every day for 67 days. It is roughly equal to the population of Salt Lake City or Huntsville, Alabama.

And it is still climbing. Deaths are running at close to 770 a day on average, and a widely cited model from the University of Washington predicts the US toll will double to 400,000 by the end of the year as schools and colleges reopen and cold weather sets in.

A vaccine is unlikely to become widely available until 2021.

“The idea of 200,000 deaths is really very sobering, in some respects stunning,” Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, said on CNN.

But monitoring at airports was loose. Travel bans came too late. Only later did health officials realise the virus could spread before symptoms show up, rendering screening imperfect.

The virus also swept into nursing homes and exploited poor infection controls, claiming more than 78,000 lives.

At the same time, gaps in leadership led to shortages of testing supplies. Internal warnings to ramp up production of masks were ignored, leaving states to compete for protective gear.

Mr Trump downplayed the threat early on, advanced unfounded notions about the behaviour of the virus, promoted unproven or dangerous treatments, complained that too much testing was making the US look bad, and disdained masks, turning face coverings into a political issue.

On April 10, the president predicted the US wouldn’t see 100,000 deaths. That milestone was reached on May 27.

Source:

www.breakingnews.ie

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