The COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. surpassed 300,000 people Monday afternoon, according to a database kept by Johns Hopkins University. Earlier in the day, the country also surpassed 16 million confirmed cases of coronavirus.
The U.S. continues to vastly outpace the rest of the world in terms of caseload and deaths linked to COVID-19.
The U.S. recorded its 16 millionth COVID-19 case over the weekend, meaning more than 1 million people are confirmed to have contracted the virus since Tuesday. According to the COVID Tracking Project, the U.S. is currently averaging more than 211,000 new cases of the virus every day — or more than a million cases every five days.
Seven million Americans have contracted COVID-19 since Oct. 30 — representing 45% of all cases that have been recorded in the country since the virus arrived in January.
In recent days, the U.S. has been averaging more than 3,000 deaths linked to COVID-19 a day — a figure that represents more lives lost than in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
The U.S. reached the grim milestone of 300,000 deaths the same day it began distributing Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. Health officials hope that inoculating higher-risk individuals first will cause death totals to drop in the coming weeks.
However, health officials warn that things will likely get much worse in the weeks to come. The U.S. is just now seeing the expected spike in cases brought on by travel from Thanksgiving, and more deaths are sure to follow.
Hospitalizations are also expected to rise, even at a time when a record 110,000 people are battling the virus in a hospital. Some hospitals may struggle to treat an influx of patients when they are already at capacity.