The United States has now officially suffered over 200,000 deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic — a milestone that was unthinkable to many people just months ago. The Johns Hopkins University tally of COVID-19 deaths crossed the threshold on Tuesday, and now stands at 200,005 at the time of this writing. Analysts are now looking back at how this catastrophe could have been averted.
When he joined the White House coronavirus task force, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned in March that the casualties of the coronavirus pandemic could reach as high as 200,000, and critics lambasted him for "fearmongering" with this projection. In July, experts from the University of Washington warned that 200,000 deaths were likely by November, and their time line was criticized. Now, their prediction has come true nearly two months early, and the U.S. is grieving an unthinkable loss.
News outlets, pundits and social media users have sought analogies to sum up the scope of the loss caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In the time since the first known case of COVID-19 was found in the U.S., an average of 858 people have died from the virus per day. The death toll is higher than those of the last five foreign warns combined, and is the 66 times higher than the death toll of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Even as the world tries to grieve for these immense losses, the danger of another surge looms. According to a report by CNN, researchers are estimating an additional 180,000 coronavirus deaths by Jan. 1, 2020. As always, they advise social distancing, wearing masks and frequent hand-washing as the best steps to preventing the spread of the virus.
Part of the threat of another surge is the upcoming flu season in the U.S., creating an effect some are referring to as a "twin-demic." Like the initial outbreak in March, this threatens to overwhelm the healthcare system with hospitalizations, urgent care needs and short supplies.
With @StatePharmacy we are engaging in @NCSLorg #NCSLbc this week to work alongside state legislators in communicating the importance of the #fluvaccine to prevent a perfect storm of flu and #COVID19. #PharmacistFluFighters are here to help. Learn more: https://t.co/wzBqrOo6yU pic.twitter.com/5xMBAlrjHx— NACDS (@NACDS) September 15, 2020
Experts are urging Americans to get a season flu vaccine if they are able, and to wear masks whenever they cannot physically distance from others. The U.S. has suffered more coronavirus deaths than any other country by a wide margin, with the next-most deaths occuring in Brazil. Over 137,000 people there have succumbed to the virus. Below that, no country has surpassed 100,000 deaths on their own.
The coronavirus pandemic is expected to continue until a vaccine is developed, produced an administered at a massive scale. For the latest updates on the outbreak, visit the websites of the CDC and the World Health Organization.