News Release

COVID-19 deaths reach another grim milestone: 300,000

Health experts appeal to government to act to minimize deaths while Americans await vaccination
For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON  -- The number of U.S. deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic surpassed 300,000 on Monday, according to NBC News. COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and death totals all have risen sharply across the United States in recent weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts 362,000 total COVID-19 deaths by January 2nd. Another model projects more than 500,000 by April -- nearly 1 of every 650 Americans. 

In response, Matthew Wellington, U.S. PIRG’s public health campaigns director, released the following statement:

“This tragic milestone is a stark reminder that this virus is raging out of control. While we now have safe and effective vaccines, we’re still months away from them being distributed and administered widely. Without swift, decisive and coordinated action by our decision makers to minimize the damage, the death toll will mount throughout the winter, causing more grief and hardship for millions of Americans.

“The most tragic part of this is that the vast majority of these deaths did not have to happen. We know how to save lives. When the virus surged in the summer, nearly 1,400 health professionals signed a letter calling for urgent action. Those recommendations, which still apply today, include getting cases down quickly by issuing stay-at-home orders and temporary closures of non-essential businesses; ramping up our ability to test widely and trace contacts of people who test positive; and reopening slowly only when the number of cases has dropped.

“While we wait for the federal government to act against COVID-19, we need more governors and mayors to lead on their own. For some, that means admitting that voluntary mask wearing and half-measures -- such as curfews and reducing capacity at certain businesses -- aren’t working well enough to save lives.

“COVID-19 will kill more Americans, but it’s in our control to make sure it takes as few lives as possible.”

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