The United States reached a grim milestone late Tuesday morning when the number of coronavirus deaths surpassed 200,000.
Data from John Hopkins University indicated the number of U.S. deaths was now at 200,005.
The U.S. has the highest number of deaths from the highly contagious lung disease that was first reported on Dec. 31 in Wuhan, China.
Since then, Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has spread around the world, shutting down economies, throwing hundreds of thousands of people out of work, and severely restricting travel and social contact.
The first case of Covid-19 in the U.S. was reported on Jan. 21, according to John Hopkins, and the disease has spread relentlessly to where the death toll of American victims now roughly equals the population of Fayetteville, North Carolina or Modesto, California.
The U.S. also has the highest number of coronavirus cases at 6.86 million, followed by India at 5.56 million and Brazil at 4.56 million. Worldwide there are 31.36 million confirmed cases.
The financial impact of the pandemic on the U.S. economy will be felt for decades, according to the Congressional Budget Office, which said new forecasts indicate federal government debt in 2050 will be nearly twice U.S. economic output.
America’s response to Covid-19 has been mired in political wrangling, with President Donald Trump publicly contradicting health officials.
Last week, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said a coronavirus vaccine would not be widely available until the next summer or fall, while Trump said a vaccine could be ready as early as next month and in mass distribution soon after.
Redfield also stressed the importance of wearing masks, telling senators that “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine.”
Trump later said Redfield misunderstood the question, adding that “the mask is a mixed bag.”
Attendees at the president’s campaign rallies rarely wear masks. On Monday, Ohio’s lieutenant governor, Jon Husted, was booed at a Trump rally outside Dayton when he tried to encourage people to wear masks, even though they were labeled “Trump 2020.”
Several companies are working on a coronavirus vaccine and treatments, including Gilead Sciences , Moderna and Pfizer.
In response to the outbreak, the Trump administration announced “Operation Warp Speed,” which has pledged more than $11 billion in funding and support for seven candidates.