The United States COVID-19 death toll rose past 100,000 on Wednesday, even as many state and federal officials have begun loosening restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to statistics website Worldometer, as of Wednesday afternoon 101,285 Americans have died of the disease of more than 350,000 people worldwide — more than any other country.
Despite widespread criticism of his handling of the crisis, US President Donald Trump touted his response on social media on Tuesday, claiming that the death toll would have been an order of magnitude greater if not for his administration.
“For all of the political hacks out there, if I hadn’t done my job well, & early, we would have lost 1 1/2 to 2 Million People, as opposed to the 100,000 plus that looks like will be the number. That’s 15 to 20 times more than we will lose. I shut down entry from China very early,” Trump tweeted.
For all of the political hacks out there, if I hadn’t done my job well, & early, we would have lost 1 1/2 to 2 Million People, as opposed to the 100,000 plus that looks like will be the number. That’s 15 to 20 times more than we will lose. I shut down entry from China very early!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020
“We made most Governors look very good, even great, by getting them the Ventilators, unlimited Testing, and supplies, all of which they should have had in their own stockpiles,” he asserted. “So they look great, and I just keep rolling along, doing great things and getting Fake Lamestream News!”
Trump initially played down the dangers of the pandemic, stating in January that the federal government had it “totally under control.”
He went on to claim that “the heat, generally speaking, kills this kind of virus” and that “a lot of people think that [it] goes away in April as the heat comes in.”
He has also touted dangerous and unproven medical advice, musing that injecting disinfectants may cure COVID-19 and calling on people to take anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which has been found to produce potentially serious side effects, particularly heart arrhythmia.
Responding to a Columbia University study that claimed that he could have saved 30,000 lives had he acted more quickly to shut down the country, Trump on Sunday called the university a “liberal, disgraceful institution.”
"Columbia is a liberal, disgraceful institution" — Trump to Sharyl Attkisson on Columbia University study that found 30,000 lives could've been saved had his federal government recommended social distancing measures just one week earlier pic.twitter.com/uYvqrpMEmC
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 24, 2020
According to Reuters, 24 US states reported increases in COVID-19 cases last week, although the total number of cases nationally fell by nearly nine percent over the two-week period ending on May 24.
On Wednesday, Long Island became the latest region of New York to begin easing restrictions as it entered the first phase of the state’s four-step reopening process.
New York was the hardest hit state in the US, with more than 29,000 deaths since the pandemic began.
Despite the heavy toll and damage to the economy, only about half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if the scientists working furiously to create one succeed, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.