US coronavirus death toll tops 400,000; New clinics aid virus ‘long-haulers’

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus eclipsed 400,000 on Tuesday in the waning hours in office for President Donald Trump, whose handling of the crisis has been judged by public health experts a singular failure.

The running total of lives lost, as compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is nearly equal to the number of Americans killed in World War II. It is about the population of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Tampa, Florida; or New Orleans. It is equivalent to the sea of humanity that was at Woodstock in 1969.

It is just short of the estimated 409,000 Americans who died in 2019 of strokes, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, flu and pneumonia combined.

And the virus isn’t finished with the U.S. by any means, even with the arrival of the vaccines that could finally vanquish the outbreak: A widely cited model by the University of Washington projects the death toll will reach nearly 567,000 by May 1.

In other developments:

  • Dozens of clinics have cropped up around the U.S. to address a puzzling and troubling aspect of COVID-19 — the after-effects that can stubbornly afflict some people weeks or months after the infection itself has subsided.
  • The race against the virus that causes COVID-19 has taken a new turn: Mutations are rapidly popping up, and the longer it takes to vaccinate people, the more likely it is that a variant that can elude current tests, treatments and vaccines could emerge.
  • Janet Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden’s choice as Treasury secretary, said Tuesday that the incoming administration would focus on winning quick passage of its $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan, rejecting Republican arguments that the measure is too big given the size of U.S. budget deficits.
  • A panel of experts commissioned by the World Health Organization has criticized China and other countries for not moving to stem the initial outbreak of the coronavirus earlier and questioned whether the U.N. health agency should have labeled it a pandemic sooner.
  • Containing the coronavirus outbreak and repairing the economic damage it has inflicted are the top priorities for Americans as Joe Biden prepares to become the 46th president of the United States, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

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Virus by the numbers