The U.S. covid-19 death toll reached over 3,000 on Monday night, surpassing the number of people who died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when 2,977 people were killed. The grim milestone comes from the latest figures updated by Johns Hopkins University, which has maintained an online tracker for the new coronavirus since January. At least 163,429 people in the U.S. have been infected.
The state of New York has the highest number of cases in the country, where over 67,300 have been infected and 1,228 have died. New York City, America’s most populous metro area, has been the hardest hit, with at least 914 deaths attributed to covid-19. New York was also the site of the worst terrorist-related death toll in U.S. history on September 11, 2001.
The 9/11 attacks took place at three locations, including the World Trade Center in New York, where 2,753 people died after terrorists hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, flying them into the two towers of the World Trade Center. The Pentagon in Washington, D.C. was also attacked, killing 184 people after terrorists flew American Airlines Flight 77 into that building. And 40 passengers and crew died in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed.
Today, the coronavirus pandemic is officially more deadly than 9/11, and if the current projections from the White House Coronavirus Task Force are accurate, the U.S. will suffer many more 9/11’s worth of dead Americans in the coming weeks and months.
At over 163,400, the U.S. currently has the largest number of confirmed covid-19 cases in the world, ahead of Italy with more than 101,000, Spain with nearly 88,000, and China with more than 82,000. Italy currently has nearly 11,6oo deaths, Spain has around 7,700, and China has just over 3,300, though there’s speculation that China’s real death toll is significantly higher than reported.
New York is building makeshift field hospitals in Central Park, as deaths in the city are expected to climb this week, overloading the capacity of many existing hospitals in the region. The New York National Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also built a makeshift hospital at the Javits Center, converting the convention floor into a 1,000-bed hospital in less than a week, and President Trump sent the U.S. Navy ship the Comfort to house non-covid patients.
But New York City, like virtually every city in the U.S., is still struggling with a lack of resources that will be needed for health care workers in the coming weeks, including personal protective equipment, like gloves, N95 face masks, and hospital gowns.
“We need gowns, we need gloves, we need masks, we need more vents [ventilators],” Dr. Arabia Mollette at Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center in New York told CNN in a segment that aired this morning. “We need more medical space. We need psychological support as well. It’s not easy coming here when you know what you’re getting ready to face.”
Other hotspots outside of New York have emerged in places like Louisiana, which has seen 4,025 confirmed cases and 185 deaths. While that may seem like small numbers, they’re substantial relative to Louisiana’s much smaller population. New York state has roughly 19.4 million people, while Louisiana has just 4.6 million.
Florida has also emerged as a troubling hotspot of contagion, with neatly 5,600 cases and 63 deaths. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has blamed an influx of flights coming from New York for his state’s high infection rate, but DeSantis has also been criticized for moving slowly on mitigation efforts. DeSantis was late to implement business shutdowns and refused to shut down the state’s beaches, which has likely contributed to a flurry of new cases over the past month.
As recently as March 26, the Wall Street Journal editorial board was celebrating DeSantis, a Republican, for refusing to put the state in lockdown and “charting a slightly different course.” That course is one where many more of his state’s residents are going to die unnecessarily.
But that kind of rhetoric is par for the course during this pandemic, which has seen a level of partisan divide that boggles the mind. Republicans, led by President Trump, have often insisted that Americans shouldn’t be overly concerned with the global pandemic and that the media has only talked about it to sow panic and despair. But Trump’s fixation on media coverage of the covid-19 crisis is likely another example of his numerous psychological projections, accusing others of the things that he’s guilty of doing on a regular basis. Over the weekend, Trump bragged that his daily covid-19 briefings on the deadly pandemic were getting great TV ratings.
“Because the ‘Ratings’ of my News Conferences etc. are so high, ‘Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers’ according to the @nytimes, the Lamestream Media is going CRAZY,” Trump tweeted on Sunday, adding four additional tweets to quote a New York Times article about his “ratings.”
However, it seems Trump is at least adjusting his tune on the deadliness of the virus, something that he used to compare to the seasonal flu. The flu has a mortality rate of roughly 0.1 percent, while covid-19 has several times that. Now Trump appears to be managing expectations and preemptively declaring anything less than 200,000 American deaths as a win for his regime.
“So you’re talking about 2.2 million deaths, 2.2 million people from this,” Trump said from the White House on Sunday, referring to the worst-case models.
“And so if we could hold that down, as we’re saying, to 100,000 — it’s a horrible number, maybe even less — but to 100,000. So we have between 100 and 200,000, and we all together have done a very good job.”
An estimated 116,516 Americans died in World War I, and 418,500 died in World War II. Needless to say, the Trump regime’s massive failures to prepare for the pandemic could not be described as a “very good job.”