US COVID-19 Deaths Top 300,000 Just As Vaccinations Begin


Monday, December 14th 2020, 3:18 pm
By: Associated Press


The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus topped 300,000 Monday just as the country began dispensing COVID-19 shots in a monumental campaign to conquer the outbreak.

The number of dead rivals the population of St. Louis or Pittsburgh. It is equivalent to repeating a tragedy on the scale of Hurricane Katrina every day for 5 1/2 months. It is more than five times the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War. It is equal to a 9/11 attack every day for more than 100 days.

“The numbers are staggering -- the most impactful respiratory pandemic that we have experienced in over 102 years, since the iconic 1918 Spanish flu,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, said days before the milestone.

The U.S. crossed the threshold on the same day health care workers rolled up their sleeves for Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot, marking the start of the biggest vaccination campaign in American history. If a second vaccine is authorized soon, as expected, 20 million people could be immunized by month’s end.

“The numbers are staggering -- the most impactful respiratory pandemic that we have experienced in over 102 years, since the iconic 1918 Spanish flu,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, said days before the milestone.

The U.S. crossed the threshold on the same day health care workers rolled up their sleeves for Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot, marking the start of the biggest vaccination campaign in American history. If a second vaccine is authorized soon, as expected, 20 million people could be immunized by month’s end.

“We are heading into probably the worst period possible because of all the things we had in the spring, which is fatigue, political resistance, maybe the loss of all the good will we had about people doing their part,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a public health researcher at Johns Hopkins.

Nuzzo contrasted the government’s scattershot response with the massive mobilization undertaken after nearly 3,000 Americans were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“To think now we can just absorb in our country 3,000 deaths a day as though it were just business as usual, it just represents a moral failing,” she said.