Tuesday, February 23, 2021

the United States at the threshold of 500,000 dead


The first death from the disease was announced almost a year ago on February 29, 2020. The half-million death mark should be crossed on Monday.

The United States is preparing to cross the grim barrier of 500,000 deaths from Covid-19 on Monday, February 22, when a number of indicators, foremost among which the rate of vaccinations, offer glimmers of hope.

“It’s terrible, it’s horrible”, reacted Sunday immunologist Anthony Fauci, adviser to Joe Biden, to the evocation of this macabre level. “We have not known anything like this for over a hundred years, since the 1918 pandemic”, he recalled on CNN. “It’s something that will go down in history. In decades, people will still be talking about that time when so many died. ”

All this grief … all this pain … all this pain … “

Joe Biden

According to figures from the benchmark Johns-Hopkins University, the count stood at midnight Monday at 498,786 dead. The first death from Covid-19 in the United States was announced almost a year ago, on February 29, 2020. It was about three months before the country crossed the 100,000 dead mark. The threshold of 200,000 was crossed in September, that of 400,000 in January, on the eve of the inauguration of Joe Biden, who has made the fight against the epidemic the top priority of his start in office.

To illustrate this milestone of half a million deaths, the New York Times chose, in one, an infographic: a large vertical column where each small point represents a dead American. The bottom of the column, which represents deaths in recent months, is almost uniformly black.

“500,000! That’s nearly 70,000 more than all Americans who died in WWII over a four-year period ”, emphasized Friday Joe Biden. “All this grief … all this pain … all this pain …” To mark this fateful day, the White House will organize this Monday at 6 p.m. (East Coast time) a minute of silence during a ceremony during which a multitude of candles will be lit, in the presence of the president and the first lady , Jill Biden. Vice-President Kamala Harris and her husband will also be in attendance.

But during his speech at a Pfizer vaccine factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the 46th President of the United States also stressed how hopeful the current pace of vaccinations is. With an average of 1.7 million daily injections, which should increase further in the coming weeks, he said he was confident in the ability to reach 600 million doses (enough to vaccinate the entire population) available by the end of July. In total, more than 61 million people have so far received one of the two vaccines authorized in the United States (Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna), of which 18 million have had the two required injections.

Another encouraging sign: after a peak in the epidemic in January, the weekly average of deaths and that of new cases are clearly down, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project.

The polar cold wave and snowstorms that have hit the country for more than a week have nevertheless slowed the vaccination campaign. The distribution of 6 million doses has been delayed and the fifty American states are impacted by these delays due to bad weather, detailed Andy Slavitt, White House adviser for the fight against the coronavirus, on Friday.

Dr Anthony Fauci, however, warned on Sunday that while Americans could hope for a “Return to a certain form of normality” by the end of this year, it is likely that masks will still be required in 2022.



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