US reaches staggering milestone — 200,000 COVID-19 deaths

The coronavirus pandemic has reached another bleak milestone in the United States: More than 200,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the country as of Tuesday (Sept. 22), according to Johns Hopkins University.

After the virus first appeared in the U.S. in late January, it took four months to reach the first 100,000 deaths, which was reported on May 27, and another four months to reach the second 100,000 deaths, according to Bloomberg.

COVID-19 is on track to be the third leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020, behind heart disease and cancer, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). In August, U.S. COVID-19 deaths surpassed the number of accidental deaths (which include those from overdoses, motor vehicle crashes and falls) for 2018, the most recent year that final death data is available, the NSC said. Accidental deaths have been the third leading cause of death in the U.S. since 2016.

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The high number of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. is a “reflection of a failing national response,” Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told CNN last week. Frieden noted that the actual number of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. is higher than the reported tally. Data from the CDC show that there have been between 202,000 and 263,000 excess deaths in the U.S. since February, according to Bloomberg. Excess deaths refers to the number of deaths beyond what would be expected based on historical trends.

“These are lives that have been lost and jobs that have been lost because we haven’t had an organized, consistent, coherent federal response,” Frieden told CNN.

The U.S. has reported more COVID-19 deaths than anywhere else in the world, at 200,005 deaths, followed by Brazil, with 137,272 deaths, and India, with 88,935 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. also leads the world in COVID-19 cases, with 6.8 million cases.

Originally published on Live Science.  

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