Since the first COVID-19 death was reported back in February, the United States death toll has rapidly spiked. As of Sunday, the U.S. is currently at 199,672 deaths, the highest death toll of any nation worldwide. Second to the U.S. is Brazil, with 137,739 deaths, and no other country has surpassed the 100,000 mark.

If the U.S. could keep the death toll between 100,000 to 200,000 people, President Donald Trump said, it would indicate that his administration had “done a very good job.” But looking at the current numbers, the U.S. is set to clear out the upper bound of his projections. The real number, however, is certainly higher than what is reported, indicating that the death toll has already exceeded the 200,000 mark. And with the fall and winter around the corner, public health experts fear that the infection rate could rapidly increase. Research has revealed that the virus may spread even faster in colder temperatures, and more people moving to indoor settings could lead to a further spike in cases. Consequently, the death toll might rise in the coming months, perhaps even doubling by the end of December.

This grim milestone of reaching an unmatched number of deaths has not prompted Trump to rethink the way he handled this pandemic. Instead of expressing any sense of regret, he has attempted to spin the loss of 200,000 Americans, insisting that if it were not for the way his administration tackled the pandemic, the numbers would have been significantly higher. “If we didn’t do our job, it would be three and a half, two and a half, maybe 3 million people,” Trump said Friday, relying on extreme projections of what could have happened if no attempts were made to combat COVID-19. “We have done a phenomenal job with respect to COVID-19,” Trump stated.

According to a recent poll from the the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, only 39% of Americans approve the way Trump has handled the pandemic. And with the 2020 election quickly approaching, the strikingly high death toll might end up having an impact on Trump’s political future.

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