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CNB News – The United States on Monday passed 300,000 total deaths from the novel coronavirus, according to a New York Times tally, a shocking number that is certain to grow larger fast before a vaccine is widely available.

The country is now averaging about 2,500 coronavirus deaths every day, a record total. On some days, over 3,000 people die from the virus, exceeding the toll from the September 11, 2001 attacks.

“We are in the timeframe now that probably for the next 60 to 90 days we’re going to have more deaths per day than we had at 9/11 or we had at Pearl Harbor,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said last week during an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.

“Tomorrow, we will cross 300,000 deaths in US from COVID-19. In January, we will pass 400,000 deaths,” Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, tweeted on Sunday. “Those deaths will come from infections that have already happened or will this week. Challenge is to stop spread before 500K deaths. Vaccines will help. But we can, must do more.”

The United States has been hit particularly hard by the virus. It has four percent of the world’s population but 22 percent of its cases and 18 percent of its deaths.

At the end of March, President Trump said that the country will have done “a very good job” if deaths total between 100,000 and 200,000, numbers that have now far been exceeded.

The average number of deaths per day is only rising at the moment, along with hospitalizations and new cases per day, meaning the situation is likely only to get worse in the short term. The country is averaging over 200,000 new cases per day, and over 100,000 people are in the hospital with the virus.

Experts are urging the public to take precautions to slow the spread, including wearing masks, avoiding indoor gatherings, and advising against travel for the holidays.

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