- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 22, 2020

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Vice President Mike Pence briefly and indirectly lamented a “heartbreaking moment” in the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday, referring to the 200,000 U.S. lives lost without mentioning the actual number.

The milestone was reported by Johns Hopkins University, based on figures supplied by state health authorities. The real toll is thought to be much higher, however, in part because many COVID-19 deaths probably were ascribed to other causes.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Gilford, Pence devoted about 6 minutes of his speech to the pandemic, for the most part praising efforts to manufacture ventilators, conduct widespread testing and develop a vaccine.

“We’re slowing the spread, we’re protecting the vulnerable, we’re saving lives,” he said.

He mentioned the dead only briefly before pivoting back to praise.

“In the midst of this pandemic we’ve come to a heartbreaking moment. It’s a heartbreaking milestone. There’s not a day gone by that I haven’t thought of families that have lost loved ones in the midst of this pandemic. Know that you’ve always been in our hearts and you’ll remain in our prayers,” he said.

“But I truly do believe because of what we’ve all done together, because of the president’s early action putting the health of America first, because of what our first responders and doctors and nurses have done all along the way, because of the compassion, and care and cooperation of the American people, I know in my heart that we have saved hundreds of thousands of American lives,” he said.

In other coronavirus-related developments:



U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan and eight of her colleagues are raising concerns about people being charged for coronavirus tests.

Under federal law enacted this year, insurers are required to cover costs associated with testing for the virus. But Hassan, a New Hampshire Democrat, and other senators said they have heard from constituents who have received unexpected bills.

In a letter to top health plan executives Tuesday, the senators asked nearly a dozen questions about their testing policies and requested answers by Sept. 30.

Hassan took the lead in sending the letters, which were also signed by fellow New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.



As of Monday, 7,990 people in New Hampshire had tested positive for the virus, an increase of 38 from the previous day. The number of deaths stood at 438.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has risen over the past two weeks from 29 new cases per day on Sept. 7 to 33 new cases per day on Sept. 21.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia or death.

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