The Coronavirus Crisis Has Now Killed More Than 100,000 People in the United States

Members of the Harris County Sheriff's Honor Guard fold a American flag over the casket of Sgt. Raymond Scholwinski, who died earlier this month after contracting COVID-19. David J. Phillip/AP

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The coronavirus has now killed more than 100,000 people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The US death toll surpasses any other nation’s and marks a grim milestone in a crisis that has destroyed families, pushed nearly 40 million Americans out of work, revealed a federal government crippled by feeble leadership, and thrown daily life into chaos.

The new figures arrived as the virus continues to spread around the country and as Americans grapple with a confusing patchwork of state guidance for how and when simple activities can be enjoyed without fear. Meanwhile, experts say the real death count is likely much higher.

The story of the pandemic is far from being written in full, but there’s already no doubt that every part of American life has been touched by strife. Acute shortages of medical equipment and the federal government’s inept testing efforts hobbled the response from the beginning. (“Anyone who wants a test can get a test,” President Donald Trump lied in March.) States battled each other for resources. (“We’re not a shipping clerk,” the president said.) Disinformation campaigns deployed to support Trump turned happy talk about treatments (“What do you have to lose?”) and re-opening (“Easter Sunday, and you’ll have packed churches”) into a full-fledged culture war over social distancing and lockdown orders—complete with militiamen armed to the teeth. Trillions of dollars were pumped into relief legislation with limited public oversight. Algorithm-enabled conspiracy theories ran rampant. All the while, the eerie silence of a country brought to heel was punctuated by self-aggrandizing daily appearances by the president, and his never-ending stream of tweets—by turns complaining, bullying, distracting, and deflecting. People of color and frontline workers bore the brunt.

“No, I don’t take responsibility at all,” Trump said, his presidency’s most indelible quote.

This weeks episode of the Mother Jones Podcast is dedicated to the enormous challenge of honoring 100,000 coronavirus victims in the United States, and what lessons art and history can teach us about collective grief:

For complete coverage of the pandemic, check out our coronavirus blog.

 

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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