World

US passes grim milestone of 200,000 Covid-19 deaths

NEW YORK: The death toll from the spread of the coronavirus in the US exceeded 200,000 on Tuesday, by the far the highest number of any nation.

The US, on a weekly average, is now losing about 800 lives each day to the virus, according to a Reuters tally. That is down from a peak of 2,806 daily deaths recorded on April 15.

During the early months of the pandemic, 200,000 deaths was regarded by many as the maximum number of lives likely to be lost in the United States to the virus.

"The idea of 200,000 deaths is really very sobering and in some respects stunning," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, told CNN.

Dr Fauci said that it was not inevitable that the US will fall into another dire situation with coronavirus cases surging during cold weather months, and he was also worried about parts of the country where public health measures were not being implemented.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump said he had done a phenomenal job on the pandemic that has infected nearly 6.9 million Americans.

"It affects virtually nobody. It's an amazing thing," Mr Trump told supporters at a campaign rally in Swanton, Ohio, on Monday night.

"It affects... elderly people with heart problems and other problems - if they have other problems that's what it really affects, that's it."

Mr Trump has admitted to playing down the danger of the coronavirus early on because he did not want to "create a panic".

Over 70 per cent of those in the US who have lost their lives to the virus were over the age of 65, according to CDC data.

The southern states of Texas and Florida contributed the most deaths in the US in the past two weeks and were closely followed by California.

The country as a whole is reporting over 42,000 new infections on average each day and saw cases last week rise on a weekly basis after falling for eight weeks in a row.

Deaths rose 5 per cent last week after falling for four weeks in a row, according to a Reuters analysis.

Six out of every 10,000 residents in the US has died of the virus, according to Reuters data, one of the highest rates among developed nations. - REUTERS

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