The global death toll from COVID-19 has topped 1 million, but the World Health Organization says the actual toll is likely much higher. In the United States, more than 205,000 people have died, and over 7.1 million cases have been reported — by far the highest figures in the world. More than half of all reported COVID-19 deaths have occurred in just four countries: the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico. On Monday, India became the second country to top 6 million cases.
Public health officials in the United States are expressing alarm as 21 states report a rising number of new COVID-19 cases. Hospitalizations are surging in the Midwest. In the Dakotas, more than a quarter of all COVID-19 tests are coming back positive — the highest rate in the United States.
Meanwhile, The New York Times is reporting top White House officials pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to downplay the risks of sending children back to school. The pressure campaign was confirmed by Olivia Troye, who served as Vice President Mike Pence’s lead staffer on the task force until July.
NBC is reporting the head of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield, was overheard on a recent flight disparaging President Trump’s new coronavirus adviser, Dr. Scott Atlas, saying, “Everything he says is false.” Atlas has faced widespread criticism from public health specialists for questioning mask use and promoting a controversial “herd immunity” strategy that could lead to the deaths of millions of Americans. Atlas is a neuroradiologist with no background in epidemiology.