US Hits Milestone the Nation Was Dreading

But even 100K deaths is considered a vast underestimation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 27, 2020 5:30 PM CDT
The US Milestone Was Coming. Now It's Here
Dr. Drew Miller, right, talks with respiratory therapist Jade Carabajal-Richter, left, and registered nurse Kevin Hoover after checking on a COVID-19 patient Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at Kearny County Hospital in Lakin, Kan.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The US surpassed a jarring milestone Wednesday in the coronavirus pandemic: 100,000 deaths, the AP reports. That number is the best estimate and most assuredly an undercount. But it represents the stark reality that more Americans have died from the virus than from the Vietnam and Korea wars combined. "It is a grim milestone," said Josh Michaud, a senior global-health official with the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington. "It's a striking reminder of how dangerous this virus can be." Worldwide, the virus has infected more than 5.6 million people and killed over 350,000, with the US having the most confirmed cases and deaths by far, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Europe has recorded about 170,000 deaths, while the US reached more than 100,000 in less than four months.

The true death toll from the virus, which emerged in China late last year and was first reported in the US in January, is widely believed to be much higher, with experts saying many victims died of COVID-19 without ever being tested. At the end March, the US eclipsed China with 3,500 deaths. Now, the US has not only the highest death total, but the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, making up more than 30% of the global total. Early on, President Trump downplayed the severity of the coronavirus and called it no worse than the common flu. He previously predicted the country wouldn’t reach this death toll. As early as March, Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, was warning that COVID-19 could claim more than 100,000 lives in the US.

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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