More than 4,400 people in the country died of the coronavirus on Tuesday, the day before lawmakers were set to charge President Trump with inciting last week’s violence at the Capitol.
As America slogs through this grimmest of winters, there is no relief in the daily tabulations of coronavirus-related deaths: More than 4,400 were reported across the United States on Tuesday, according to a New York Times database, a number once unimaginable.
Yet even as Covid-19 touches thousands of families, the nation is distracted by the political crisis gripping Washington in the last days of the Trump administration.
Tuesday’s death count, which set another daily record, represented at least 1,597 more people than those killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The U.S. death toll, already the world’s highest by a wide margin, is now about 20,000 shy of 400,000 — only a month after the country crossed the 300,000 threshold, a figure greater than the number of Americans who died fighting in World War II.
But much of the nation’s attention is focused on the fallout from the Capitol siege, prompted in part by President Trump’s efforts to prevent Congress from certifying Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the November election.
On Wednesday, the House will vote to formally charge Mr. Trump with inciting violence against the country. House lawmakers have formally notified Vice President Mike Pence that they will impeach the president if Mr. Pence and the cabinet do not remove Mr. Trump from power by invoking the 25th Amendment.
As people in the country wait to see how Mr. Trump’s tenure will end, they have also focused on the stories of the five people who were left dead after last week’s rampage — in particular, the death of Brian D. Sicknick, a Capitol Police officer who was overpowered by the mob and struck on the head with a fire extinguisher.
“Brian is a hero,” his brother Ken Sicknick said. “That is what we would like people to remember.”
Each coronavirus death is no less painful to the families and friends who have lost loved ones. Among the latest victims are a revered basketball coach, a travel writer who loved country winters and an architect who had survived the Holocaust.
The health Secretary Alex M. Azar II tried to highlight the urgency of the crisis on Tuesday as the Trump administration said that it would release all available vaccine doses and instructed states to immediately begin inoculating every American 65 and older.
“This next phase reflects the urgency of the situation we face,” he said. “Every vaccine dose that is sitting in a warehouse rather than going into an arm could mean one more life lost or one more hospital bed occupied.”