Imagine if every person in Reno, Nevada, suddenly died. That's how many lives COVID-19 has claimed in the US so far.
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At least 250,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 so far as of Wednesday, according to data from John Hopkins University. The death count has surpassed any previous estimates on the toll of the pandemic, and the leading US model now predicts as many as 438,941 deaths from the novel coronavirus by March 1, 2021. Earlier this week, the COVID Tracking Project found that an average of 1,100 Americans are dying every day from COVID-19 and weekly averages have reached an all-time high. Public health experts have warned that the upcoming winter months could be the most deadly of the pandemic. In the past week, the US has consistently broken records on the number of daily new cases, and experts are warning that with the winter months forcing people to congregate indoors, as many as 2,000 people could die from the virus each day, if proper mitigation efforts are not enforced, The New York Times reported. This month, two companies announced that their COVID-19 vaccines were found to be effective and are waiting on approval from the Food and Drug Administration for distribution but widespread availability won't be available for at least a few months, and some experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have said that life won't completely return to normal unless there is global distribution. President Donald Trump however has not addressed the skyrocketing cases and deaths in the country. Instead, he's baselessly attacked Pfizer, one of the two vaccine companies, which he accuses of deliberately waiting until after Election Day to release their vaccine trial results. Trump has also refused to concede in the election and blocked President-elect Joe Biden from accessing key information for a smooth transition, including information on COVID-19, which Biden has said could lead to more needless deaths. "More people may die if we don't coordinate," Biden said. Hospitals across the country have been overburdened by the growing rate of infections and hospitalizations. On Wednesday, the president-elect got emotional and teared up while talking to an ICU nurse about her experience treating COVID-19 patients. "You got me emotional," Biden said on a video call. "Anyone who spent significant time in ICU, like I did for months, ... observed the incredible mental strain on nurses in ICU units." Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How the Navy's largest hospital ship can help with the coronavirus
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