The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 200,000 Tuesday.
“It is completely unfathomable that we’ve reached this point,” Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins University public health researcher told the Associated Press.
The number is based on data supplied from state health authorities, according to the report. However, the real death total is thought to be much higher since some COVID-19 related deaths were attributed to other causes before testing was more widespread.
The American Medical Association President Susan R. Bailey, MD issued a statement calling the “somber milestone” an “epic tragedy.”
“These are not just numbers on a spreadsheet; these are moms and dads, spouses and children, beloved grandparents, favorite aunts, uncles and cousins,” Bailey said.
“This virus has devastated families and entire communities, and brought immeasurable heartache to vulnerable populations including seniors and those already struggling with chronic illness and other underlying conditions,” she added.
Today we mark a somber milestone as more than 200,000 people in the U.S. have died of #COVID19. With more than 6 million COVID-positive Americans, we say again: protect the ones you love and #MaskUp, wash your hands, practice physical distancing. Plus, get your #flushot. pic.twitter.com/XcIijGE8n3
— AMA (@AmerMedicalAssn) September 22, 2020
A recent prediction projects the U.S. could see the death count hit 400,000 by the end of 2020.
The U.S. accounts for approximately 21% of all confirmed COVID-19 deaths around the world, according to CNBC.
With nearly 62 reported deaths per 100,000 residents, the U.S. is 11th in most deaths per capita, per the same report. (RELATED: CDC Says New COVID-19 Guidelines That Said Virus Can Travel More Than 6 Feet In Air Were Accidentally Updated)
Within the last week, the U.S. has seen an average of 43,300 new cases per day, with at least 750 deaths everyday, according to CNBC.
The grim milestone comes as the U.S. races to get a vaccine, with President Donald Trump having announced Sept. 4 that the U.S. could very well have a vaccine ready by October.
Trump reiterated the claim, telling Fox and Friends Monday that the vaccine would be ready in a “matter of weeks.”
“I’m getting it very soon, within a matter of weeks. I would say that you’ll have it long before the end of the year, maybe. Maybe by the end of October.”
However, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield told lawmakers last week that a while a vaccine could be available by November or December, it would not be “generally available to the American public” until 2021, according to Politico.