- At least 200,000 Americans have been killed by the coronavirus, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
- The latest figure comes amid intensifying pressure for the United States to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
- "Every one of the 200,000 Americans killed by COVID-19 is a tragedy, and most of these deaths did not have to happen," Dr. Tom Frieden, a former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement.
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The number of Americans killed by the coronavirus surpassed 200,000 on Tuesday, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The figure marks yet another grim milestone in the months-long pandemic.
The coronavirus continues to spread nationwide, with more than 6.9 million infections in the United States since the pandemic began, according to the data.
The latest figures come amid intensifying pressure for the United States to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
President Donald Trump has urged health officials to work faster to approve a vaccine and said one could be available before the election on November 3.
But most health experts disagree, saying it's unlikely that a vaccine can be proved safe that soon. Last month, a high-level official in the Food and Drug Administration threatened to resign if the agency green-lighted an unproven coronavirus vaccine.
The pandemic has created uncertainty and instability, roiling markets, closing many small businesses, and forcing state officials to find new ways to execute presidential primaries and the upcoming general election.
For about seven months, Americans have been learning to live under and adapt to new laws and recommendations from health officials. Quarantining, practicing physical distancing, and wearing masks have become standard in most states. As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths has continued to rise nationwide, health officials have predicted that these practices will remain the norm until deep into 2021 and possibly 2022.
"Every one of the 200,000 Americans killed by COVID-19 is a tragedy, and most of these deaths did not have to happen," Dr. Tom Frieden, a former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement.
"The future is in our hands. We can save lives and accelerate economic recovery by putting science and public health at the center of our response. As the global death toll passes one million, this also means collaborating to improve public health systems worldwide."
To honor the 200,000 people who died, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attended a memorial in front of the Washington Monument on Tuesday, NBC News reported.
"It's just incomprehensible, the situation we find ourselves in," she said.
"This was preventable. Not all of it, but much of it," Pelosi added, speaking before a field of 20,000 flags, each one meant to honor 10 lives lost.
Individual states began to respond to the pandemic early this year, closing businesses and asking residents to stay at home to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The number of confirmed cases and deaths quickly skyrocketed, ballooning over the months to tens of thousands of affected Americans.
Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 31 million people and killed more than 965,000 people.
Aria Bendix contributed reporting.
This article has been updated.
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