Over a quarter-million people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19
The United States topped 250,000 coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday as infections soar in nearly every pocket of every state in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Why it matters: The sharp rise in the number of cases and fatalities has accelerated calls for government action. Wednesday's news exceeded infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci's March prediction in which he said "we should be prepared" that COVID-19 could kill 240,000 Americans.
Between the lines: "There is always a lag in deaths, compared with the rate of infection and hospitalizations, and with the latter measure now hitting records every day — 76,830 Americans were hospitalized on Tuesday, according to the Covid Tracking Project — the death toll is certain to go on rising," the New York Times writes.
The state of play: A number of states across the country have taken more drastic action over the past week, enforcing face mask mandates, partial lockdowns and advisories.
- Though Fauci has expressed support for a nationwide mask mandate, some states refuse to implement such a requirement.
- The tally of infected government officials has also surged, from President Trump and his inner circle back in September to lawmakers on Capitol Hill over the last six days.
- COVID-19 vaccine development looks promising, though the timeline of distribution remains unclear.
- The coronavirus has hit communities of color the hardest.
The context: The Trump administration is still downplaying the impact of the coronavirus more than eight months into the pandemic.