US passes 250,000 Covid-19 deaths

18 November 2020, 23:02 | Updated: 19 November 2020, 00:04

The US has surpassed 250,000 Covid-19 deaths
The US has surpassed 250,000 Covid-19 deaths. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The United States of America has suffered a quarter of a million coronavirus deaths, as it continues to be the worst-hit country by the pandemic.

According to data by John Hopkins University, the US has now recorded nearly 11.5 million confirmed cases of the deadly virus.

The bleak milestone, by far the highest confirmed death toll from the virus in the world, is based on figures supplied by state health authorities, but the real toll is thought to be much higher, in part because many Covid-19 deaths were probably ascribed to other causes, especially early on, before widespread testing.

Read more: Joe Biden warns 'more people will die' if Trump blocks transfer of power

The US has seen the worst rates of infections on the globe, and takes the unenviable title of having the highest number of deaths from a virus which has only been in transmission for a little over a year.

Donald Trump - the now-outgoing US President - has faced criticism for not doing enough to control the spread of the virus, but he himself has congratulated himself on his actions.

But some have warned the situation could get worse as Trump refuses to concede or allow a transition team to take over handling the pandemic.

Reports have suggested Trump is also blocking Biden's team from being briefed on the coronavirus and efforts to distribute a vaccine.

But in a country which is currently gripped by the pandemic - and has recorded 1 million new infections in the past 6 days alone - bringing it under control is essential.

President-elect Joe Biden this week warned "more people will die" if Trump doesn't ensure a smooth transfer of power.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also said "it would be better" if Biden's transition team could begin working with government health officials.

"Of course it would be better if we could start working with them," he told reporters.

"As you know, I've been through multiple transitions now, having served six presidents for 36 years.

"And it's very clear that the transition process that we go through ... is really important in a smooth handing over of the information as well as it's almost like passing the baton in a race.

"You don't want to stop and then give it to somebody, you want to essentially keep going."