US COVID-19 deaths surpass 400,000 on last day of Trump's presidency

World Wednesday 20/January/2021 16:17 PM
By: Xinhua
US COVID-19 deaths surpass 400,000 on last day of Trump's presidency

WASHINGTON: The number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the United States surpassed the grim milestone of 400,000 on Tuesday, the last full day of Donald Trump's presidency.

100,000 deaths just over a month

With the national confirmed cases topping 24.18 million, the death toll across the country rose to 400,292 as of 3:22 p.m. local time on Tuesday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

New York State reported 41,350 fatalities, at the top of the U.S. state-level death toll list. California recorded the second most deaths of 33,763, followed by Texas with 32,729 deaths and Florida with 24,274 deaths, showed the JHU data.

States with more than 12,000 fatalities also include New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Massachusetts and Georgia.

The saddening milestone came just over a month after the U.S. COVID-19 death toll topped 300,000 on Dec. 14. It took nearly four months for the national death toll to climb from 100,000 to 200,000, and less than three months to jump from 200,000 to 300,000.

The richest country in the world remains the worst hit by the pandemic, accounting for more than 25 percent of the global cases and nearly 20 percent of the global deaths.

As the country endures record levels of daily COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, 52 percent of Americans say the virus is "not at all" under control, up sharply from 35 percent (among registered voters) in October, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds.

An updated model forecast by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington projected a total of 566,720 COVID-19 deaths in the United States by May 1, 2021, based on the current projection scenario.

How US guaranteed its failure

Political polarization and a rejection of science have stymied the U.S. ability to control the COVID-19 pandemic, said a New York Times article on Sunday.

The Trump administration "largely delegated responsibility for controlling the virus and reopening the economy to 50 governors, fracturing the nation's response," said the article titled "One Year, 400,000 Coronavirus Deaths: How the U.S. Guaranteed Its Own Failure."

"The severity of the current outbreak can be traced to the rush to reopen last spring... Science was sidelined at every level of government. More than 100 state and local health officials have been fired or have resigned since the beginning of the pandemic," the article said.

"There are serious structural issues that hindered states' and the public's ability to act," wrote Vox's German Lopez at the beginning of this month.

"Experts have long argued that the US's public health infrastructure is underresourced and ill prepared for a serious crisis, and the pandemic has exposed this many times over: Nearly a year into the pandemic, no state has capacities for testing and contact tracing that most experts would consider adequate," said Lopez.

The pandemic situation in the United States threatens to get even worse as a new, more contagious variant of the virus becomes more prevalent and the rollout of vaccines for COVID-19 has been slower than expected in the country.

The variant first discovered in the United Kingdom could be the predominant strain in the United States by March, warned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week.

The Trump administration planned to inject 20 million Americans by the end of 2020. However, only about 12.28 million doses have been administered as of Jan. 15, according to the CDC.

President-elect Joe Biden, who is to be sworn in on Wednesday, hopes to administer 100 million doses of two-stage coronavirus vaccines in his first 100 days. He also plans to sign an executive order requiring masks on federal property and during interstate travel and is urging all Americans to wear face coverings for 100 days.