The USA reached a grim milestone in its fight against the coronavirus Monday: More than 10,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the nation.
That total surpasses the number of battle deaths from six U.S. wars combined, according to data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
VA data says a total of 9,961 soldiers died on the battlefield during these six wars: The American Revolution, War of 1812, Mexican War, Indian Wars, Spanish-American Warand Desert Shield/Desert Storm. The data does not include other deaths related to the wars.
U.S. officials have repeatedly likened the coronavirus outbreak to a military struggle, and members of the armed forces have joined in various efforts to help stop the virus’ spread.
The USNS Comfort naval hospital ship was sent to Manhattan to help increase the city’s medical capacity. Members of the National Guard and medical military personnel have been deployed to help hard-hit areas.
There were 10,986 deaths as of early Tuesday, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard, which tracks the numbers
Over the weekend, officials warned the coming days would be a major crossroads in efforts to contain the virus.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Sunday that this week could be the nation’s “hardest and saddest” thus far. “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized,” Adams said.
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Virus hot spots are predicted to see peak deaths this week. Communities that have not seen a major spike in deaths are in a critical window for preventing a major outbreak in the coming weeks.
“This is the moment to do everything you can. … This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe,” Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said Saturday.
The USA is seeing in excess of 1,000 fatalities per day, a daily toll more than double that of two of America’s most deadly illnesses – lung cancer and the flu.
There is some good news: Federal health officials said there were signs the outbreak might be reaching its apex in some hard-hit areas such as New York City and Washington state.
Social distancing measures are effective in blunting the spread of the virus, Birx said. Coronavirus patients often have a weekslong battle with the virus, which means death tolls often reflect infections that occurred weeks ago.
Contributing: Mike James, USA TODAY
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 10,000 dead of coronavirus in USA, more fatalities than six wars combined