The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 topped 100,000 Wednesday, according to a running tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.
The grim milestone came less than three months after the first confirmed U.S. death from the disease caused by the coronavirus, on Feb. 29.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shut down broad swathes of the U.S. economy, throwing tens of millions of people out of work, prompting massive federal aid spending and unprecedented financial supports from the Federal Reserve.
It’s also sparked bitter partisan debate. President Donald Trump’s desire to reopen the economy as fast as possible has run into opposition from health experts and many state leaders who caution that reopening too soon will only cause an additional surge in cases that will force additional shutdowns later on.
Trump has also refused to be seen wearing a face mask. Masks are a key to slowing the spread of the disease from people who have been infected but are showing no symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Trump, who is sharply focused on trying to win re-election in November, has largely left it to states to figure out how to proceed with testing and contact tracing, both seen as key to re-opening the economy safely.
He has also come in for criticism for claiming for weeks in January and February that the coronavirus was under control and would go away on its own.
Wednesday’s milestone comes three months to the day from a White House briefing in which Trump said, “One day, like a miracle, it will disappear.”