The United States hit a grim milestone on Wednesday, recording more than 1,000 deaths from coronavirus infection in a single day for the first time. According to the population data site Worldometers, which has been recording statistics throughout the pandemic, as of 8:45 p.m. EDT, the U.S. had recorded 1,049 coronavirus fatalities on April 1 alone.
Though the U.S. death toll did not reach 1,000 until March 26, almost four weeks after the first American fatality was announced in the state of Washington, the total has now roughly quintupled in less than one week. Per Worldometers data, 5,102 Americans have died as a result of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, as of Wednesday evening.
Though that total places the U.S. third in the world in terms of overall fatalities — at least in terms of official numbers release — the death rate in the country remains relatively low. According to Worldometers numbers, the U.S. has suffered 15 deaths for every million in population. Italy leads the world with 218 deaths per million — and 13,155 lives lost overall.
Spain now ranks second behind Italy with 9,387 deaths — a rate of 201 per million Spanish residents — while France ranks fourth, one notch below the U.S., with 4,032 casualties. For the French, that total is equivalent to 62 coronavirus fatalities per million.
But according to projections by experts, including those revealed by Donald Trump’s administration on Tuesday, the U.S. is only at the beginning of accumulating its COVID-19 death total. The White House Coronavirus Task Force now says that this figure could run over 200,000. But on Monday, the president declared that if the figure could be held to “between 100 and 200,000,” he would judge his performance in the crisis to be “a very good job,” according to a Washington Post report.
Trump also claimed that there were some people, whom he did not identify, who advised him to simply do nothing about the pandemic and rather to “ride it like a cowboy. Just ride it. Ride that sucker right through.”
But while the president admitted that he “thought about it,” he ultimately decided that the 2.2 million projected deaths that would result from doing nothing about the pandemic were “not acceptable.”
According to a Guardian report on Wednesday, the U.S. was preparing for the high death toll by potentially sourcing up to 100,000 body bags from the Department of Defense. The “green nylon, 94-inch by 38-inch” bags are generally used to store and transport the corpses of dead soldiers, but would now be repurposed for civilian use, to collect the remains of coronavirus patients who do not survive the disease, the outlet noted.