Public Citizen Statement on U.S. COVID-19 Death Toll Surpassing 600,000

WASHINGTON, D.C.  Following reports that the U.S. COVID-19 death toll has surpassed 600,000 deaths, Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, issued the following statement:

“The horrifyingly high death toll from COVID-19 is a direct result of the Trump administration’s criminal incompetence. The refusal to follow public health guidance and the embrace of conspiracist frames that contradicted public health recommendations directly led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans. If the U.S. experienced the same COVID-19 death rate as Canada, 360,000 fewer Americans would have died.

“But while the U.S. finally appears to be turning the corner on the pandemic, the global situation is far different. The pandemic is raging in developing countries, and it will continue to do so until vaccines are made widely available. Unfortunately, the world is not on track to make vaccinations available to all any time soon. The recent G7 announcements evidence an appallingly low level of ambition, consigning hundreds of thousands or many more to avoidable deaths and making more likely the outbreak of new, more dangerous coronavirus strains. With leadership from the Biden administration, vaccine manufacture and distribution could be scaled up to make vaccines available to every person on the planet within a year.

“The best way to mark today’s grim domestic death toll would be a Biden administration announcement that it was prepared to use its powers to bring the worldwide pandemic to a close within a year.”