The American death toll from coronavirus is believed to have topped 2,400, likely surpassing the number of Americans killed on the attack on Pearl Harbor and closing in on the number killed on 9/11.
The number of COVID-19 deaths has surged across the U.S. in the past three days, with several hundred new deaths a day being reported as the virus continued to strike new hot spots across the country. That has led the death total from the virus to top two of the biggest American tragedies of the last 100 years: the attack on Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is one of the largest single tragedies in American history, with hundreds of planes launching a surprise raid on American forces just before 8 a.m. on December 7, 1941. The attack caught American forces defenseless, leading to a total of 20 naval vessels including eight battleships either damaged or destroyed, the History Channel noted. A total of 2,403 Americans were killed.
The total number of Americans killed by the coronavirus is on pace to soon top those killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as well. The attacks led to 2,977 deaths between those killed in the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and on Flight 93. A number of first responders later died of illnesses contracted by the toxic clouds of dust at Ground Zero after the attack, likely making the official death toll larger.
The rate of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. topped more than 500 per day over the weekend, as the rate continued to grow exponentially, despite efforts to contain the virus through stringent shutdown measures. A number of states have spent more than two weeks under these measures, with states like California and New York leading the way in closing down all non-essential businesses, banning public gatherings, and encouraging residents to remain in their homes as much as possible.
These measures are meant to slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19, preventing hospitals from becoming overwhelmed with patients. Despite the efforts, the hardest-hit areas, like the New York City metro area, have seen such a sharp rise in both cases and critically ill victims that hospitals have struggled to care for the patients and run low on critical supplies and equipment.
There could be much more to come, experts warn. On Sunday, the nation’s top expert in infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said that there could be between 100,000 and 200,000 total deaths and millions of infections.
Fauci said that it was difficult to accurately predict just how much impact the coronavirus could have before it runs its course.
“I just don’t think that we really need to make a projection when it’s such a moving target, that you could so easily be wrong,” Fauci said, via NPR.