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United States surpasses 500,000 Covid-19 deaths

International desk || shiningbd

Published: 12:15, 23 February 2021   Update: 12:15, 23 February 2021
United States surpasses 500,000 Covid-19 deaths

Lila Blanks reacts next to the coffin of her husband, Gregory Blanks, 50, who died from complications from COVID-19, before his funeral in San Felipe, Texas, on January 26 [File: Callaghan O`Hare/Reut

More than 500,000 people in the United States with coronavirus have died, according to Johns Hopkins University data, the highest death toll by far of any country in the world.

The country reached the harrowing tally on Monday, just about a year after the first known death was reported in the state of California.

“Today, we mark a truly heartbreaking milestone – 500,071 dead,” US President Joe Biden said after a moment of silence was observed on Monday evening at the White House, which was lighted by hundreds of candles representing those who have died.

“That is more Americans who have died in one year of this pandemic than in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined. That is more lives lost to this virus than any other nation on earth,” Biden said.

“But as we acknowledge the scale of this mass death in America, we remember each person and the life they lived. They were people we knew or people we feel like we knew.”

In recent weeks, COVID-19 infection rates have started to drop as the Biden administration ramped up vaccinations and put more public health restrictions in place to try to stem the spread of the virus.

But on Sunday, Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said while case numbers are decreasing rapidly from a recent peak, Americans need to remain cautious as the US has not vaccinated enough people to reach herd immunity yet.