US reaches grim milestone of 250,000 coronavirus deaths

More than a quarter million Americans have died from complications of COVID-19, the disease caused by a coronavirus that is tearing massive holes in states across the nation.

The worldometer website placed the United States death toll at 254,563

As a result of the incompetent federal response to the deadly pandemic, as health experts warn the death toll could double in the coming months.

President Donald Trump has been ignoring the recent surge as he vigorously insisted that he won the election even though his rival has been declared victorious in states adding up to 306 electoral votes.

When Trump earned that same number in his 2016 campaign, he called it a landslide victory.

News oulets reported the Covid-19 death toll crossed the 250,000 mark on Wednesday although counts maintained by Johns Hopkins University were slightly below that figure.

The United States continues to be the epicenter of the global pandemic, accounting for a hugely disproportionate share of both cases and deaths even as the virus begins spreading more widely in European countries.

Virtually every indicator in the U.S. is flashing bright red alarms: The country has recorded more than 100,000 new cases on every day since the November 3 election. More than 73,000 Americans are being treated in hospitals, an all-time high.

Of those, 14,000 are in intensive care units. The number of tests conducted on a given day is rising, but so too is the percentage of those tests that come back positive, a sign that the virus is spreading faster than testing is expanding.

“This is a disaster waiting to happen,” said Kelli Drenner, a public health expert at the University of Houston. “People are letting their guard down, expanding their bubbles.”

If states were counted individually against other nations, 15 of the 20 worst outbreaks in the world on a per capita basis would be American states.

Eight states — the Dakotas, Iowa, Wyoming, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Montana — have worse per capita outbreaks than any other country in the world.

Case counts increased in 49 states and the District of Columbia week over week.

Little over a month after President Trump required supplemental oxygen as he was treated for the virus, COVID-19 has continued to spread through the upper echelons of American government.

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), the oldest member of the House of Representatives, said he had been hospitalized for treatment for the disease. Senate President Pro Tem Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is quarantining after being exposed to someone who had the virus. Several members of Congress and at least one member-elect who won election just weeks ago have tested positive in recent days.

Improvements in treating the disease and a substantial shift in the populations most affected to younger generations have meant that the mortality rate from the coronavirus has fallen significantly since the earliest days of the pandemic. But the exponential growth of cases means that the death toll is likely to rise in the coming weeks.

“We can’t stop that wave. It’s already coming,” said Eric Feigl-Ding, a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists. “Usually, hospitalizations lag by around a week and a half, two weeks. Deaths lag by three weeks. Those deaths have not hit us yet. Those deaths will hit us after Thanksgiving and into December.”

The third apex of the coronavirus pandemic is vastly outpacing the April and July zeniths in severity, and it shows no signs of bending downward.

At the height of the summer spread, Arizona ranked as the state with the worst outbreak, when 380 people per 100,000 residents tested positive every week. Today, 23 states have worse per capita outbreaks. In North Dakota and South Dakota, more than 1 percent of the entire population tested positive in the last week.

Health systems are increasingly stretched as doctors and nurses work round-the-clock shifts to save patients. There is such a shortage of medical professionals in North Dakota that those who have tested positive for the virus but who do not show symptoms are being asked to continue coming to work. Officials in El Paso, Texas, have ordered refrigerated morgue trucks to handle the surge of dead bodies.

“Right now, there are no more surplus traveling nurses or traveling doctors. There are none. So every state is on their own. You can add more beds, but it’s not the beds that are limiting anymore,” Feigl-Ding said.

Mew Jersey Republicans are calling for looser restrictions after Gov. Phil Murphy responded to new data showing a resurgence in the disease.

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