US coronavirus death toll passes grim 400,000 milestone

April Roach
·2-min read
<p>Transporters Miguel Lopez, front, and Noe Meza wheel a gurney carrying a Covid patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles</p> (AP)

Transporters Miguel Lopez, front, and Noe Meza wheel a gurney carrying a Covid patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles

(AP)

The US coronavirus death toll has passed 400,000 in the final hours of Donald Trump’s presidency.

The number of people who have died from Covid-19 is nearly equal to the number of Americans killed in the Second World War.

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the US death toll reached 401,128 on Tuesday.

The number of lives lost is about the population of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Tampa, Florida; or New Orleans.

It is just short of the estimated 409,000 Americans who died in 2019 of strokes, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, flu and pneumonia combined.

Despite the rollout of coronavirus vaccines that could finally end the outbreak, a widely cited model by the University of Washington projects the death toll will reach nearly 567,000 by May 1.

Mr Trump’s administration has been credited with Operation Warp Speed, the programme to develop and distribute the Covid-19 jabs.

Artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg walks among thousands of white flags planted in remembrance of Americans who have died of Covid-19 near Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in WashingtonAP
Artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg walks among thousands of white flags planted in remembrance of Americans who have died of Covid-19 near Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in WashingtonAP

But the president has also repeatedly been accused of downplaying the threat, mocking the use of face masks and railing against lockdowns.

The White House has defended the administration.

“We grieve every single life lost to this pandemic, and thanks to the president’s leadership, Operation Warp Speed has led to the development of multiple safe and effective vaccines in record time, something many said would never happen,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere.

President-elect Joe Biden will take office on Wednesday.

The nation reached the 400,000 milestone in just under a year. The first known deaths from the virus in the US were in early February 2020, both of them in Santa Clara County, California.

While the count is based on figures supplied by government agencies around the world, the real death toll is believed to be significantly higher, in part because of inadequate testing and cases inaccurately attributed to other causes early on.

It took four months to reach the first 100,000 dead. It took just over a month to go from 300,000 to 400,000.

Additional reporting by Associated Press.

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