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US coronavirus death toll passes 200,000

 

 

The US coronavirus death toll has passed 200,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

 

More than 6.8 million people are known to have been infected in the US, more than in any other country, reports the BBC.

 

The milestone comes amid an increase in cases in a number of states, including North Dakota and Utah.

 

In March, President Donald Trump said if deaths were between 100,000 and 200,000, the country would have done a “very good job”.

 

The previous month, when 15 cases had been reported in the country, he predicted that the number was going to be “close to zero” within a couple of days.

 

JHU reported the new death toll of 200,005 on Tuesday. The university has been collecting US and global coronavirus data since the outbreak began late last year in China. The first case in the US was confirmed in January.

 

President Trump’s administration has been repeatedly criticised over its handling of the outbreak.

 

“Due to Donald Trump’s lies and incompetence in the past six months, [we] have seen one of the greatest losses of American life in history,” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said on Monday.

 

“With this crisis, a real crisis, a crisis that required serious presidential leadership, he just wasn’t up to it. He froze. He failed to act. He panicked. And America has paid the worst price of any nation in the world.”

 

But on the same day, Trump said he and his administration had done “a phenomenal job” and gave himself an “A+” for his handling of the pandemic.
He said the US was “rounding the corner on the pandemic, with or without a vaccine”.

 

North Dakota has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks. Officials say there were more than 3,200 active cases in the state as of Monday, while 87 people are in hospital.

 

The state ranks first in the country for the number of cases per capita in the past two weeks, according to data cited by the Associated Press news agency.
Cases are also rising in states including Utah, Wisconsin, Texas and South Dakota.
And there is growing concern that infections will continue to rise during the winter months.

 

US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci warned earlier this month that Americans should “hunker down” for autumn and winter.

 

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) removed guidance on airborne transmission of coronavirus that had been updated on Friday.

 

In the now removed advice, the CDC said the virus could spread via particles that remain in the air and travel more than 6ft (1.8m). It also advised on the use of air purifiers indoors.

 

The CDC said this was a “draft version of proposed changes” and had been “posted in error”.

 

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