On Tuesday, as the U.S. coronavirus death toll hit 200,000, Vice President Mike Pence reflected on the last several months, and told supporters in New Hampshire he knows "in my heart that we have saved hundreds of thousands of American lives."
He called the death toll "a heartbreaking milestone," but promised that before the end of the year, there will be "a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine." He declared that President Trump "put the health of America first" and the administration is "protecting the vulnerable, we're saving lives, and developing lifesaving medicines."
The United States has about 4 percent of the world's population, but has recorded 20 percent of its COVID-19 deaths. In May, Trump predicted during a Fox News interview that over the course of the pandemic, "anywhere from 75,000, 80,000 to 100,000 people" would die from the virus. Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, later clarified that her task force's projections showed "between 100,000 and 240,000 American lives lost, and that's with full mitigation and us learning from each other of how to social distance."