US passes 200,000 virus deaths, weeks before election

The United States registered its 200,000th death from the Covid-19 pandemic on Tuesday, the latest grim milestone for the country just weeks before voters decide if President Donald Trump will stay in office.

According to a rolling tally by Johns Hopkins University, 200,182 Americans have died and 6.86 million have been confirmed infected by the novel coronavirus.

The US has had the world’s highest official death toll for months, ahead of Brazil and India, with 137,272 and 88,935 deaths respectively.

Overall, the US accounts for four percent of the world’s population and 20 percent of its recorded coronavirus deaths.

Critics say the statistics expose the Trump administration’s failure to meet its sternest test ahead of the November 3 election.

“Due to Donald Trump’s lies and incompetence in the past six months, (we) have seen one of the gravest losses of American life in history,” his Democratic rival Joe Biden charged Monday.

Reacting to the bleak new milestone, the top Democrat in Congress, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, blamed the soaring toll squarely on “Trump’s deadly disinformation and negligence — including his cover-up of the catastrophic nature of the virus.”

Trump, for his part, insists that the United States is already “rounding the corner” — while betting on the swift approval of a Covid-19 vaccine to boost his reelection chances.

“We will distribute a vaccine, we will defeat the virus, we will end the pandemic, and we will enter a new era of unprecedented prosperity, cooperation and peace,” Trump said in a recorded message to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. (AFP)

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