The sobering milestone comes after a Memorial Day long weekend that saw U.S. President Donald Trump go golfing for the first time since the coronavirus was declared a national emergency on March 13.
The first cases of COVID-19 on U.S. soil were recorded in Washington state on Jan. 20.
In early May, a revised coronavirus mortality model by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) predicted close to 135,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 by early August, as social-distancing measures for quelling the pandemic are increasingly loosened. That was already almost double previous projections.
Trump has been urging states to reopen after COVID-19 lockdowns. On Friday, he warned state governors to reopen places of worship — otherwise he would override them.
Trump said he was declaring places of worship — churches, synagogues and mosques — as providers of essential services, to be reopened as soon as possible.
“If they don’t do it I will override the governors. In America we need more prayer, not less,” he said.
Data tracked by Johns Hopkins University showed that as of May 27, there are more than 5.6 million cases of the coronavirus around the world, and more than 353,000 deaths.
The U.S. leads in both, by a large gap. Almost 1.7 million cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the U.S., with Brazil coming in a distance second with more than 391,000 cases.
100,047 people had died as of May 27 in the U.S. — the highest death toll in the world. The second highest death toll is in the U.K., with more than 37,500 deaths.
More than 384,000 Americans have recovered.
Close to 30 per cent of deaths in the U.S. are in the state of New York. Early April brought accounts of dead bodies being stored in refrigerated trucks in New York City, as morgues became overwhelmed.
In a rare move, the medical journal Lancet recently penned a scathing editorial taking to task the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis and calling on Americans to vote for a president who can “understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics.”
“How did an agency that was the first point of contact for many national health authorities facing a public health threat become so ill-prepared to protect the public’s health?” the journal wrote about the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The New York Times dedicated its Sunday front page to the striking death toll, listing column after column of names of Americans who have died from COVID-19 under the headline ‘U.S. DEATHS NEAR 100,000, AN INCALCULABLE LOSS.’
“We were trying to capture that personal toll,” the Times’ national editor Marc Lacey told Reuters.
All 50 states have eased their coronavirus lockdown restrictions to some extent.
In some states, like Illinois and New York, restaurants don’t have in-person dining and hair salons remain closed. In many southern states, most businesses are open, with restrictions on capacity.
— With files by Reuters
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