U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Pass 100,000
The U.S. death toll from the new coronavirus surpassed 100,000 Wednesday, even as all 50 states begin to reopen.
The U.S., with less than five percent of the world's population, accounts for nearly a third of its coronavirus deaths, according to NPR. It has by far the highest death toll of any country in the world, and the virus that causes COVID-19 has now killed more Americans than every military conflict since the Korean War, The New York Times reported.
"Back in March, I did not think this would be possible — I was not expecting 100,000 deaths," Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, told NPR. "I really believed we as a nation would have taken the decision to put in place social distancing and accepted the economic hardship that it's creating, and that we would have stuck to it to get transmission down to a very low level."
JUST IN: More than 100,000 people have now died in the US from the coronavirus, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.— CNN (@CNN) May 27, 2020
In just four months, the virus has killed almost twice the number of Americans lost during the entire Vietnam War. https://t.co/RNH5IROg3B pic.twitter.com/9baVumuaUc
The first known U.S. coronavirus death occurred in Northern California Feb. 6, NBC News reported. That ballooned to an average of 2,000 deaths a day in April, and has fallen to an average of 1,400 a day in May, Reuters calculated. The U.S. now has more than 1.7 million confirmed cases. Worldwide, the disease has infected more than 5.6 million and killed more than 350,000.
The new virus has not been an equal opportunity killer in the U.S., NPR pointed out. According to calculations based on the first nearly 69,000 fatalities, it killed around twice the number of men than women under 75, and 80 percent of the dead were 65 or older. It has disproportionately impacted African American and Native American communities, and has taken a higher toll on low income areas.
"If you look at the locations where people are disproportionately dying, they are in places that are lower income," University of Chicago Population Research Center Director Kathleen Cagney told NPR. "They are places that likely have multiple residents in a single-unit space. They are places where people rely on public transit and rely on services like big-box locations, where by entry alone you're putting yourself at risk."
The grim 100,000 milestone comes about a week after a Columbia University study found that the death toll could have been significantly lower if the country had entered lockdown just one week earlier, NPR reported at the time. If social distancing measures had begun March 8 instead of March 15, around 36,000 lives could have been saved.
"The Radical Left Lamestream Media, together with their partner, the Do Nothing Democrats, are trying to spread a new narrative that President Trump was slow in reacting to Covid 19," he wrote, as The New York Times reported. "Wrong, I was very fast, even doing the Ban on China long before anybody thought necessary!"
The Radical Left Lamestream Media, together with their partner, the Do Nothing Democrats, are trying to spread a new narrative that President Trump was slow in reacting to Covid 19. Wrong, I was very fast, even doing the Ban on China long before anybody thought necessary!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2020
Former Vice President Joe Biden, his rival in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, posted a video Wednesday in which he did fault the administration for not acting sooner.
"This is a fateful milestone we should have never reached," he said, according to The New York Times.
There are moments in our history so grim, so heart-rending, that they're forever fixed in each of our hearts as shared grief. Today is one of those moments. 100,000 lives have now been lost to this virus.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) May 27, 2020
To those hurting, I'm so sorry for your loss. The nation grieves with you. pic.twitter.com/SBBRKV4mPZ
The concern now is that states will reopen too quickly. While the number of new cases and deaths have fallen nationwide, some locations have seen a surge in cases.
In New York state, the nation's hardest hit, the daily death toll has declined to numbers not seen since March.
But a White House coronavirus task force report found that cases were surging by as much as 72 percent in cities around the country, according to NBC. In Mecklenberg County, North Carolina, where Charlotte is located, cases had nearly doubled between May 1 and Saturday. In Montgomery County, Alabama, they had nearly tripled during the same period, and the hospitals have been forced to send people to Birmingham.
"Right now, in Montgomery, we're at a point where we can see the cliff, and we don't want to get too close to it for fear of falling off," Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Thursday. "We're in a very dangerous predicament."
Public health experts warn the death toll could keep climbing as all 50 states are moving to ease their lockdowns, surging past 140,000 by August.
"Now we're almost getting the worst of both worlds — we're getting the economic hardship and we're relaxing," Murray told NPR. "And it seems either now or in the fall, we're going to have a big second wave, and we'll be right back to dealing with pressure on the hospital system and dealing with, when is the peak surge coming?"
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This week marks the official start of fall, but longer nights and colder days can make it harder to spend time outdoors. Luckily, there are several inspiring environmental films that can be streamed at home.
1. Kiss the Ground<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ccc5f0c92a5603e68aec39e56b0db02a"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K3-V1j-zMZw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: Netflix</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Sept. 22</strong></p><p>Between <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wildfires-california-washington-oregon-photos-2647585008.html" target="_self">wildfires devastating the U.S. West Coast</a> and <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tropical-storm-beta-landfall-2647760268.html" target="_self">storms battering the Gulf</a>, the impacts of the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/climate-change/" target="_self">climate crisis</a> can feel overwhelming right now. <em><a href="https://kissthegroundmovie.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Kiss the Ground</a> </em>offers an alternative to all of the bad news by focusing on solutions.</p><p>The film, directed by Josh and Rebecca Tickell and narrated by Woody Harrelson, explains how we can heal the Earth through "regenerative agriculture," farming practices that draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and into soil as a way to restore soil health, which in turn boosts ecosystems and food supplies.</p><p>"<em>Kiss the Ground </em>shows how feasible it is to make these changes at a grassroots level immediately and make a truly substantive impact with low cost and easy to implement solutions," Executive Producer RJ Jain said in an email. "This is why I got involved."</p>
2. Public Trust: The Fight for America's Public Lands<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5338f7a2931e356910026e5fd76fac56"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jsKMTAaj_wQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: YouTube</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Sept. 25, 2 p.m. EDT </strong></p><p>This <a href="https://www.patagonia.com/films/public-trust/" target="_blank">award-winning documentary</a> tells the stories of Indigenous activists, journalists, whistleblowers and historians working to protect America's <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/public-lands" target="_self">public lands</a>. The film focuses on three political struggles: the shrinking of <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/bears-ears" target="_self">Bears Ears</a> National Monument in Utah, the mining of Boundary Waters Wilderness in Minnesota and the opening of the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/Arctic-National-Wildlife-Refuge" target="_self">Arctic National Wildlife Refuge</a> to fossil fuel exploration.</p><p><em>Public Trust</em> was directed by David Garrett Byars and produced by Jeremy Rubingh. Patagonia Films, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and actor Robert Redford are executive producers. It will be <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGjnIG7puzY" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">released</a> on YouTube in time for <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/national-public-lands-day-2640656776.html" target="_self">National Public Lands Day</a>.</p><p>"Our country is fortunate to have millions of acres of public lands, including National Parks, Monuments, Wildlife Refuges and Wilderness set aside for future generations," Redford said. "Sadly, these lands that belong to you and me are under unprecedented threats from the greed of big corporations, eager to weaken restrictions in the pursuit of profits. Many of our current politicians are also to blame. <em>Public Trust</em> tells the story of citizens who are fighting back. It's a much-needed wake-up call for all of us who want to preserve our unique and wild cultural heritage."</p>
3. David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="156438a30836a765d7a92982545fc334"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/B_OFZvAd05Y?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: Netflix</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Oct. 4</strong></p><p>Beloved nature broadcaster <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/David-Attenborough" target="_self">David Attenborough</a> has spent his career introducing viewers to the wonders of our planet. In recent years, his footage of albatrosses swallowing <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/plastics" target="_self">plastic</a> in <em>Blue Planet II</em> has been credited with <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/2018-fighting-plastic-waste-2624606566.html" target="_self">helping to ramp up</a> the global fight against plastic pollution. Now, in this <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">World Wildlife Fund</a> (WWF)-produced <a href="https://www.attenborough.film/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">documentary</a>, he reflects on the defining moments of his career and the devastating changes he has witnessed.</p><p><em>David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet,</em> which was also produced by Silverback Films and directed by Alastair Fothergill, Jonnie Hughes and Keith Scholey, features an intimate conversation between Attenborough and Sir Michael Palin as the broadcaster reflects on his life and a career that took him to every continent on Earth. In addition to streaming on Netflix, the movie will be available in select theaters starting Sept. 28.</p><p>"For decades, David has brought the natural world to the homes of audiences worldwide, but there has never been a more significant moment for him to share his own story and reflections," WWF executive producer Colin Butfield said in a <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/david-attenborough-life-our-planet" target="_blank">statement</a>. "This film coincides with a monumental year for environmental action as world leaders make critical decisions on nature and climate. It sends a powerful message from the most inspiring and celebrated naturalist of our time."</p>
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If all the glaciers and ice caps on the planet melted, global sea level would rise by about 230 feet. That amount of water would flood nearly every coastal city around the world [source: U.S. Geological Survey]. Rising temperatures, melting arctic ice, drought, desertification and other catastrophic effects of climate change are not examples of future troubles — they are reality today. Climate change isn't just about the environment; its effects touch every part of our lives, from the stability of our governments and economies to our health and where we live.
<p>Why environmental refugees flee their homes is a complicated mixture of environmental degradation and desperate socioeconomic conditions. People leave their homes when their livelihoods and safety are jeopardized. What effects of climate change put them in jeopardy? Climate change triggers, among other problems, desertification and drought, <a href="https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/deforestation.htm" target="_blank">deforestation</a>, land degradation, rising sea levels, <a href="https://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/natural-disasters/flood.htm" target="_blank">floods</a>, more frequent and more extreme storms, <a href="https://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/natural-disasters/earthquake.htm" target="_blank">earthquakes</a>, <a href="https://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/natural-disasters/volcano.htm" target="_blank">volcanoes</a>, food insecurity and famine.</p><p>The September <a href="http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2020/09/ETR_2020_web-1.pdf" target="_blank">2020 Ecological Threat Register Report</a>, by the Institute for Economics & Peace, predicts the hardest hit populations will be:</p><ul><li>Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa</li><li>Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Chad, India and Pakistan (which are among the world's least peaceful countries)</li><li>Pakistan, Ethiopia and Iran are most at risk for mass displacements</li><li>Haiti faces the highest risk of all countries in Central America and the Caribbean</li><li>India and China will be among countries experiencing high or extreme water stress</li></ul>
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