A quarter of a million Americans have died from COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The milestone reached on Wednesday follows a stunning surge in cases this fall, with the country repeatedly shattering records for daily new case numbers and several states reporting record high hospitalization rates.
President Donald Trump’s unwavering insistence that the coronavirus is on its way out couldn’t be further from the truth. Less than two weeks after Trump lost his bid for a second term to President-elect Joe Biden, the U.S. surpassed 11 million cases ― about a fifth of all infections worldwide.
“We’re still facing a very dark winter,” President-elect Biden warned Americans last week, predicting that the death toll will climb as people congregate indoors more and Trump finishes his final weeks in office while downplaying the severity of the disease, dismissing the need for masks and other basic safety measures, refusing to issue national guidelines, insisting that states reopen their economies, and blaming testing for the high rate of cases.
The 250,000 dead-and-counting are the Trump administration’s legacy: America’s grim mortality statistics are the direct result of political decisions by the country’s leaders. Every non-political explanation has steadily fallen away as other countries proved this disease could be managed.
Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong, among the most densely populated places in the world, have had vanishingly small outbreaks and are now returning to their pre-coronavirus activity. Within the United States, the severe initial outbreak in New York City seemed to indicate that density was to blame, but the country’s second densest city, San Francisco, had a much smaller outbreak. Caseloads have spiked in states that are heavily suburbanized and rural, including Idaho, North Dakota and Arkansas.
And while America’s status as a transportation hub did indeed result in the early arrival...