Coronavirus Deaths Pass 200,000 in the U.S.

Coronavirus deaths have topped 200,000 U.S. and leading the world in total cases, according to CNN. An average of more than 858 people have died from the disease on a daily basis since Feb. 6. Researchers warn the news could get worse. Medical experts project nearly 180,000 more coronavirus deaths could occur by Jan. 1, making it more important to take extra precautions.

“Increasing mask use to 95 percent can save nearly 115,000 lives, reducing that expected number of deaths by 62.7 percent,” the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said.

The coronavirus is now the third-leading cause of death nationwide, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smaller communities, including Hidalgo County, Texas, are being hit hard, according to NPR. In that county’s largest city, McAllen, which has fewer than 150,000 residents, the coronavirus killed more than 1,500 people.

In the first 100,000 deaths nationwide from the coronavirus, about one-fifth were in places outside of large cities, but when it came to the second 100,000 deaths, the share of deaths in smaller towns jumped to nearly half. Some experts say part of the problem is many people in rural areas let their guard down early on because they did not expect the coronavirus to reach their communities.

Hot spots have also shown up in rural areas around Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Robert Redfield and other health experts are testifying today before a Senate committee about the Trump administration’s coronavirus response.