More people in the US have now died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, than were killed in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
The milestone raises the question of whether the country will mobilise to mend America’s social safety net and health care system the way it mobilised against terrorism after the plane hijackings.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed on 9/11, while the coronavirus death toll rose to 3,173 on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
That number is only expected to rise. Dr Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, said on Monday that the virus outbreak could ultimately kill 100,000 to 200,000 Americans and infect millions.
“But I don’t want to be held to that,” Fauci said, “because it’s such a moving target.” It is “very, very unlikely” the country would see millions of deaths due to COVID-19, Fauci noted, adding that he would rather people not worry about worst-case scenarios.
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The comparison to the devastating 2001 terrorist attack is one that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has made in past weeks as the number of coronavirus cases across the state tick steadily upward.
“[It] reminds me of 9/11, where one moment, which was inconceivable, just changed everything,” Cuomo said on March 19.
He continued: “Children who were young at that time, but of school age, watched on TV. They didn’t know if their parents were coming...