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Coronavirus death toll passes 150,000 | TheHill


More than 150,000 people in the United States have died from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University, while tens of thousands more are struggling in hospitals as the pandemic spreads virtually unchecked in almost every state in the nation.

Six months after the virus was first reported on American soil, it is poised to be the third-leading cause of death this year, behind only heart disease and cancer. It has already killed more people in the United States than the number of Union soldiers who died in the Civil War.

There are few signs the spread is slowing down. The number of new cases confirmed on a daily basis has topped 50,000 on all but two days of the month, and more than 60,000 new cases have been confirmed on seven of the last 10 days.

The United States is conducting more than three quarters of a million tests every day, and many of the new cases being identified are among people who show no or few symptoms.

But the virus continues to infect many who suffer far worse outcomes. More than 57,000 people are currently hospitalized, according to figures released by state health departments and collected by the Covid Tracking Project, an independent group of researchers. More than 1,000 people have died on seven of the past eight days.

Two-thirds of the states have seen case counts increase over the last week. Florida identified more than 73,000 new cases over the past seven days, while California reported 67,000 new cases and Texas confirmed more than 57,000.

Georgia, Arizona, Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama, South Carolina and Illinois all reported more than 10,000 cases in the last week. Only one state — Arizona — has seen its case counts decline for two consecutive weeks, albeit after reaching a zenith in June and early July that put it on par with the worst hotspots across the world.

Even some of the states that have been spared the worst of the crisis are beginning to see case counts rise. Alaska reported 234 new cases on Sunday, after managing a long streak of only a small handful of cases each day. Hawaii reported 301 cases over the last week, twice as many as its previous record. States like Mississippi and Missouri, which saw relatively low levels of case counts, are now averaging more than 1,000 new cases each day.

The number of dead is likely to continue to rise as case counts increase, a lagging indicator as the COVID-19 disease runs its course over a long stretch of time. That rise is beginning to show in states like Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas — all states where at least three quarters of the beds in intensive care units are occupied.

What had once been a predominately federal responsibility — creating, maintaining and coordinating a national strategy to combat a public health threat — has largely been left to the states.

Thirty-two states now require residents to wear masks in public places, and dozens of city and local governments also require masks in the remaining states that do not have statewide mandates.

There are few signs that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden hits Trump’s ‘law and order’ message: He’s trying to ‘scare the devil’ out of people Pelosi bashes Barr after testimony: ‘He was like a blob’ and ‘henchman’ for Trump Schumer: Trump should want COVID-19 deal to help GOP election chances MORE has plans to issue a federal mask mandate. At his press briefing Tuesday, hours before the U.S. officially crossed the 150,000-death mark, Trump spent time bemoaning his low approval ratings, promoting a drug that is not effective against the virus and touting a doctor who has warned of harm caused by having sex with demons and witches in dreams.

Congress, too, has dragged its feet in responding to a virus that has killed so many and caused so much damage, both physical and economic. Senate Republicans unveiled their latest stimulus proposal on Monday, weeks after House Democrats passed their own version; the two sides remain far apart, and on Tuesday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer: Trump should want COVID-19 deal to help GOP election chances Republican senators revolt over coronavirus proposal Lawmakers, public bid farewell to John Lewis MORE (R-Ky.) effectively handed authority to negotiate the Republican position to Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinRepublican senators revolt over coronavirus proposal Democrats, GOP appear far apart on COVID-19 relief deal Overnight Health Care: Marlins outbreak casts harsh light on US coronavirus response | Senate GOP’s COVID-19 response sets up battle over Medicaid | Virginia imposes new restrictions in part of state MORE and Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsRepublican senators revolt over coronavirus proposal Democrats, GOP appear far apart on COVID-19 relief deal Overnight Health Care: Marlins outbreak casts harsh light on US coronavirus response | Senate GOP’s COVID-19 response sets up battle over Medicaid | Virginia imposes new restrictions in part of state MORE, the White House chief of staff.

As the crisis evolves, some states that had begun to reopen and some states that had resisted strict lockdowns are beginning to curtail activities once again.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said Monday he would order bars closed for two weeks. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) ordered bars to close at 11 p.m., and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) placed new restrictions on restaurants and bars in the Hampton Roads area, in an effort to stop an outbreak centered around Virginia Beach.

California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomProtesters chain themselves to gate outside Newsom’s home to call for release of prisoners Rep. Bass says LA opened ‘a little too quickly’ GOP governors in Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Florida see approval sink MORE (D), confronting one of the fastest-growing outbreaks in the nation, said his state would surge $52 million to eight particularly hard-hit counties in the Central Valley, to rapidly improve testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine efforts.



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