The COVID-19 death toll in the United Stated surpassed 400,000 on the day former President Donald Trump left office, U.S. media reported on Wednesday.
"We need to follow the science and the 400,000th death is shameful," Cliff Daniels, chief strategy officer for Methodist Hospital of Southern California, was quoted by the Associated Press.
Trump seemed to invest as much in battling public perceptions as he did in fighting the virus itself, repeatedly downplaying the threat and rejecting scientific expertise while fanning conflict ignited by the outbreak, the New York-based news agency said.
Instead of counseling Americans, the former president used his pulpit to spout theories, which were refuted by doctors, that taking unproven medicines or even injecting household disinfectant might save people from the virus, the AP added.
"Everything about how it's been managed has been infused with incompetence and dishonesty, and we're paying a heavy price," Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University was quoted by the AP as saying.
To date, the United States has reported 24,434,283 COVID-19 cases with 406,001 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.