The death toll in the U.S. from the novel coronavirus hit more than 15,000 on Thursday, a new high-water mark as the pandemic continues to ravage the country.
The grave milestone comes as more than 450,000 confirmed cases are reported across the U.S., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has the most cases of any country by far, but still trails Italy and Spain in confirmed deaths.
China, where the outbreak began, has reported nearly 83,000 cases and just over 3,300 deaths. However, international observers have speculated that Beijing is not accurately reporting the full scope of the virus in the country.
The total number of cases and fatalities in the U.S. is expected to rise as the trajectory continues upward. President Trump warned over the weekend of a “rough two weeks” ahead.
“This will be probably the toughest week,” he told reporters Saturday.
“There will be a lot of death, unfortunately, but a lot less death than if this wasn’t done,” he added, pointing to the administration’s efforts to combat the virus.
Outbreaks in New York and New Jersey have largely driven the spike in deaths in the country, though Louisiana, Michigan and other states have also seen a sharp increase in cases.
Governors and health officials in several states across the U.S. have grappled with containing the outbreak, warning that they lack the necessary equipment to curb the highly infectious virus’s spread.
The flood of cases has thrust the federal government’s response to COVID-19 into the spotlight, particularly after new memos were surfaced showing that a top trade adviser warned in January that a potential pandemic could be especially fatal in the country and have major economic consequences.
“I don’t think it would’ve changed it, because I basically did what the memo said,” Trump said this week, referring to his decision to restrict travel from China at the end of January.
Officials have also expressed optimism in recent days that the total death toll in the U.S. from the coronavirus will be smaller than the original projection of 100,000 to 200,000.
“Although one of the original models projected 100- to 200,000 deaths, as we’re getting more data and seeing the positive effect of mitigation, those numbers are going to be downgraded,” Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said Wednesday. “I don’t know exactly what the numbers are going to be, but right now it looks like it’s going to be less than the original projection.”
Source: The Hill