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the coronavirus crisis

U.S. coronavirus death toll hits 250,000

The U.S. coronavirus death toll topped 250,000 on Wednesday, with nearly every state reporting an increase in new daily cases compared to this time last week.

In March, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, predicted that the coronavirus might kill up to 240,000 Americans. The deadliest day of the pandemic was April 15, with 2,752 deaths reported that day. Experts say that this winter, there could be 2,000 deaths reported a day, and "it all depends on what we do and how we address this outbreak," Dr. Jeffrey Shaman of Columbia University told The New York Times. "That is going to determine how much it runs through us."

As of Wednesday, more than 11.5 million coronavirus cases have been reported in the United States, and on Tuesday, there were 76,830 Americans hospitalized with COVID-19. Shaman warns that while there is good news on the horizon regarding vaccines, the virus is still here, and the numbers will continue to go up as people gather for the holidays and tire of taking preventative measures. It's important that Americans wear masks and avoid crowds because "we have a lot of people who have not been infected with this yet," Shaman told the Times. "If you get complacent, the virus does not care. It is just going to come back."