The United States passed 250,000 coronavirus deaths Wednesday, according to statistics from Johns Hopkins University.
The death toll now rests at 250,485 as of Wednesday evening, almost two months after the U.S. passed the 200,000 death milestone on September 19. The number surpasses even the most dire predictions put forward by President Donald Trump’s administration at the end of March, which told Americans to anticipate between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths.
New daily coronavirus cases have surged since September. The total case number for the entirety of the pandemic sat at just over 6.9 million in mid-September, according to the New York Times. That number has now increased t0 more than 11.5 million in less than two months, according to Johns Hopkins. (RELATED: Jake Tapper Calls Coronavirus Vaccines An ‘Unmitigated Success’ For Trump Administration)
The news comes as the Pfizer pharmaceutical company announced the development of a coronavirus vaccine it says is safe and “95 percent effective.” The company is applying for fast-tracked approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Trump claimed prior to Election Day that 100 million coronavirus vaccine doses would be available by the end of 2020, with an additional 600 million becoming available by March 2021. Figures within his administration disputed that timeline, however, with CDC Director Robert Redfield telling Congress he didn’t anticipate a vaccine being widely available until summer 2021.
White House Coronavirus Task Force Member Dr. Anthony Fauci has said doses won’t be widely available until April 2021.
Experts say a vaccine won’t herald the return of normal life unless enough people take it, however. Trump has accused President-elect Joe Biden and the Democratic Party of sowing distrust of the vaccine. Biden and other Democrats have suggested Trump would fast track a vaccine and flaunt FDA health guidelines. There is no evidence Trump has tampered with the vaccine development process.
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