100,000 deaths, 40 million jobless: US confronts grim COVID-19 realities

May 29, 2020

As America's COVID-19 death toll crossed the 100,000 mark, another 2 million Americans filed for unemployment in the weeks since the novel coronavirus has upended life across the country.

According to Reuters, a record 40-plus million people have filed joblessness claims since March 21, when most states enacted stay-at-home mandates that shuttered non-essential businesses. But despite the partial reopening of all 50 states, the economy is slow to recover from the dramatic losses. Unemployment claims have dropped during the last eight weeks but have not fallen below 2 million since March 21.

As of May 28, the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker noted more than 1,700,000 U.S. cases and over 101,000 fatalities, a total reached in just under four months.

The Washington Post said the death toll represents half the population of Salt Lake City, or the total population of Kenosha, WI, and said COVID-19 deaths are now double the number of deaths caused by strokes in a four-month period, or 20 times the number of Americans killed by homicide. According to the Post, 14 percent of Americans say they know someone who has died from the virus. The majority of the dead have been over the age of 50, and in some states, 80.

Among the fatalities are 299 U.S. healthcare workers, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC said over 63,000 healthcare professionals have contracted the virus in the last four months. Six weeks ago, the CDC had only recorded 27 fatalities, among 9,000 infections.

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