On April 10, President Donald Trump gave somber remarks on COVID-19, which by then had been spreading in the U.S. for months. He cited models that it would kill as many as 220,000 Americans ― although he predicted “substantially” below 100,000 ― and said “our people had to be extremely strong and brave to be able to put up with what they’ve put up with.”
Five months later, the nation is hurting even more. The U.S. surpassed 200,000 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday ― losing enough people to fill nearly four gigantic football stadiums, or 131 times the number lost in the sinking of the Titanic. It’s indisputable that tens of thousands of further deaths lie ahead. A University of Washington model that almost exactly pinpointed when the country would cross the 200,000 mark now envisions nearly 400,000 deaths by Jan. 1.
Past predictions were wrong, not just because of the difficulty of modeling a novel virus’s spread but because they relied on an assumption that the U.S. and the administration would take the virus seriously.
As it turned out, that was too optimistic.
“It affects virtually nobody,” Trump said of the coronavirus on Monday, the day before the grim milestone of 200,000 American deaths from COVID-19.
The U.S. has already lost more people to the virus than any other country, including much larger nations like China and India. Various states have struggled at different periods as the coronavirus has spread from coast to coast; over the last week, Montana has reported more cases than in any other seven-day period since the pandemic began. Presently, about 800 Americans are lost to the disease daily, according to The New York Times and Reuters.
The mismanaged approach to the virus continues to hurt millions of people. Even those spared from infection are struggling because of its effect on the economy, the upheaval of the country’s health care and education systems and often painful individual efforts to keep...