Experts say U.S. fight against coronavirus failed miserably as tally surpasses 7 mln
U.S. coronavirus case count rose to 7,005,746, with the national death toll reaching 203,240, as of 2:23 p.m. local time (1823 GMT), according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
California reported 801,006 cases, the highest among all states. Texas registered 747,491 cases, followed by Florida with 695,887 cases. The caseload of New York State exceeded 450,000. Other states with over 200,000 cases include Georgia, Illinois, Arizona, North Carolina and New Jersey, according to the CSSE.
U.S. coronavirus cases topped 5 million on Aug. 9, and hit 6 million on Aug. 31.
By far, the United States remains the world's worst-hit nation, with the most cases and deaths, making up more than one fifth of the global caseload and death toll, respectively.
"It is completely unfathomable that we've reached this point," Jennifer Nuzzo, a public health researcher of Maryland-based Johns Hopkins University, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying eight months after the epidemic broke out in the world's largest economy.
"We have from the very beginning lacked a national testing strategy," Nuzzo said. "For reasons I can't truly fathom, we've refused to develop one."
The number of deaths is still increasing at a rate of nearly 770 daily on average, according to Johns Hopkins University.
"We're on track to have a quarter-million dead Americans by the end of the year with absolutely no reason it had to happen," Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, was quoted by The Guardian as saying.
"It was all preventable. So yes, this is a leadership failure of astounding proportions," Konyndyk said.
The arrival of the fall semester combined with the flu season has sparked great concern over an uptick in new cases around the United States.
Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told the Senate Health Committee in a hearing Wednesday that more than 90 percent of the U.S. population is susceptible to coronavirus, citing a study conducted by the agency.
In addition, an ensemble forecast released Thursday by the CDC predicted that the virus may have caused a total of 214,000 to 226,000 deaths in the United States by October 17. ■