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U.S. Death Toll from COVID-19 Reaches Record High

Death tolls from COVID-19 in the United States have reached a record high since mid-May, according to new data.

An analysis from The New York Times of data reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that roughly 200,000 more deaths than usual have occurred since March.

“This is about 60,000 higher than the number of deaths that have been directly linked to the coronavirus,” the Times article said, adding that official death counts are probably “substantially underestimating” the virus’s impact since some deaths are also due to other or compounding effects from the pandemic, such as heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Johns Hopkins University estimated that the virus has killed more than 166,000 people in the United States, infecting more than 5 million residents in the country.

The article also noted that recent spikes in cases and fatalities in parts of the country “may have been driven largely by reopenings and relaxed social distancing restrictions.”

But even as the latest numbers were reported, U.S. President Donald Trump called for reopening more schools and businesses, even voicing a desire to see a college football season come the fall. Trump “threatened to divert federal money from schools that don’t open,” according to The Washington Post, and promised that the federal government will supply school districts with up to 125 million masks.

In his 12 August announcement, Trump also restated the claim that 99.9 percent of the deaths from the virus were adults.

Some U.S. school districts have begun to reopen while others are seeking a way to continue teaching students online. Some suburban and rural districts in Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and other states are pursuing reopening, although at least one district has already seen the pandemic surge throughout its community, according to another Times article.

A suburban county outside of Atlanta reopened its schools at the beginning of August but has already ordered the quarantine of roughly 1,200 students and staff. In the Cherokee County School District, an elementary school principal notified families that a second grade student had tested positive for the virus.

“By the time the last bell rang on Friday afternoon, principals at 10 other schools had sent similar letters to families in Cherokee County,” the Times reported. Earlier this week, two high schools in the district announced they would remain closed until at least the end of the month.

CNN reported that a CDC top official has warned the public to follow recommended pandemic measures or prepare for “the worst fall in U.S. public health history.”

Updated recommendations from the CDC include using masks that do not have vents or valves, citing them as less effective than non-medical cotton masks.