The United States on Monday passed 300,000 total deaths from the novel coronavirus, according to a New York Times tally, a shocking number that is certain to quickly grow larger before a vaccine is widely available.
The country is now averaging about 2,500 coronavirus deaths every day, a record total. On some days, more than 3,000 people die from the virus, exceeding the toll from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“We are in the time frame now that probably for the next 60 to 90 days we're going to have more deaths per day than we had at 9/11 or we had at Pearl Harbor,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert RedfieldRobert RedfieldGottlieb says government's early COVID-19 response was a 'failure of vision' House Democrats expand probe into political interference into CDC during Trump administration Redfield says he thinks virus 'evolved' in lab to transmit better MORE said last week during an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.
Vaccinations, which began on Monday, do offer promise that the pandemic will eventually end, but the vaccine will not be widely available for several months, meaning there is still a brutal period of deaths to get through.
“Tomorrow, we will cross 300,000 deaths in US from COVID-19. In January, we will pass 400,000 deaths,” Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, tweeted on Sunday. “Those deaths will come from infections that have already happened or will this week. Challenge is to stop spread before 500K deaths. Vaccines will help. But we can, must do more.”
The United States has been hit particularly hard by the virus. With just 4 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. has seen 22 percent of cases worldwide and 18 percent of deaths.
At the end of March, President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE said the country will have done “a very good job” if deaths total between 100,000 and 200,000, numbers that have now far been exceeded.
The average number of deaths per day is rising at the moment, along with hospitalizations and new cases per day, meaning the situation is likely to get worse in the short term. The country is averaging more than 200,000 new cases per day, and more than 100,000 people are in the hospital with the virus.
Experts are urging the public to take precautions to slow the spread, including wearing masks, avoiding indoor gatherings and avoiding travel for the holidays.