U.S. nears 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, twice what Trump once predicted

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Sunday, May 24, 2020
Some fear holiday weekend will cause uptick in US COVID-19 cases
In the last 24 hours, more than 21,000 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the U.S., along with more than 1,000 deaths.

NEW YORK -- The United States is on track to surpass 100,000 coronavirus deaths in the next few days, a number twice what President Donald Trump once predicted it would be.

The New York Times marked the horror by devoting Sunday's entire front page to a long list of names of those who have died in the pandemic in the U.S. under a headline that called it "An Incalculable Loss."

In another tribute to Americans lost to COVID-19, Trump has ordered U.S. flags on federal buildings and national monuments to half-staff through Sunday.

As of Sunday, the country leads the world with a reported 1.6 million coronavirus cases and more than 96,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Still, Trump continued to urge states to reopen their coronavirus lockdowns and declared houses of worship as "essential," even as experts warn that those attending indoor religious services are at "high risk" of contracting and spreading the coronavirus.

The president is spending his Memorial Day weekend playing golf at one of his courses, following the guidance from Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, that it was OK for people to be outdoors this weekend as long as they took appropriate safety precautions.

Former vice president and opponent in the 2020 presidential election Joe Biden blasted this in a new campaign ad.

"Nearly 100,000 Americans have died. The death toll is rising. The President is playing golf," reads the text on-screen as the 30-second video comes to an end.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projected American COVID-19 deaths to slow but still exceed 110,000 by June 13.

And on Sunday, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn issued a reminder to Americans that "the coronavirus is not yet contained."

"With the country starting to open up this holiday weekend, I again remind everyone that the coronavirus is not yet contained. It is up to every individual to protect themselves and their community. Social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks protect us all," he tweeted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.