The coronavirus outbreak in the United States reached yet another grim milestone on Monday. The death toll has passed 10,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with more than 347,000 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus — far more than any other country has reported.
Worldwide, there have been nearly 1.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases, and more than 70,000 deaths.
Italy (15,887) and Spain (13,055) have reported the most deaths from COVID-19-related complications, followed by the United States.
China, where the outbreak began, has reported just 3,335 deaths, though that figure is suspect. The Chinese government is widely believed to be understating the severity of the disease there, having come under harsh criticism for its attempts to hide the outbreak in the early stages. More than 82,000 cases have been reported there.
There is also evidence that the reported death toll in the United States is too low. Some public health experts say that official counts have failed to capture the true number of Americans dying in this pandemic. The first reported death from COVID-19 in the country was announced on Feb. 29 in Washington state, but doctors in rural areas told the New York Times that some deaths before that were “likely misidentified as influenza or only described as pneumonia.”
Vice Adm. Jerome Adams, the U.S. surgeon general, warned that the coming week is going to be the “hardest and saddest” for most Americans.
“This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized, it’s going to be happening all over the country,” Adams said on “Fox News Sunday.” “And I want America to understand that.”
Adams added: “I want Americans to understand that as hard as this week is going to be, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
The Trump administration carried that hopeful message into its daily coronavirus task force briefing on Sunday night.
“We are beginning to see the glimmers of progress,” Vice President Mike Pence said.
Pence said that he had spoken to governors from states across the country and that data was indicating that the rise in the number of new cases of COVID-19 was starting to slow. “If that holds, if that’s happening it’s because of what all of you are doing,” Pence said, referring to Americans’ compliance with social distancing guidelines.
Dr. Deborah Birx, a leading expert in infectious disease on the task force, said that there were encouraging signs in Italy and Spain, where new cases and deaths are declining.
In Italy on Sunday, the country saw its lowest daily death toll (525) in two weeks. Authorities there are hopeful the curve will soon be heading down.
“It’s giving us hope of what our future could be,” Birx said.
But Birx also said the dire projections showing between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans likely to be killed by COVID-19 still hold.
President Trump acknowledged that the U.S. death toll from the virus would see a significant jump in the coming weeks, but the overall trajectory was encouraging.
“We see light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “Things are happening.”