Exceeding early estimates, the number of Covid-19 deaths in the United States exceeded half a million by Monday. And with that, more Americans died in a rampant epidemic in the country than in World War I and World War II, and in the Vietnam War combined.
And this mortality rate was not inevitable, but rather the result of failure to treat the spread of the pathogen, Jeffrey Shaman, a professor at Columbia University, told the New York Times (NYT).
The New York paper draws attention to that
while the United States accounts for only 4.25 percent of the world’s population, about 20 percent of global coronavirus deaths occurred there.
Covid-19 has become the leading cause of death in addition to heart disease and cancer, with roughly 670 Americans claiming a coronavirus death, according to recent figures.
At the start of last year’s outbreak, Anthony Fauci, now chief infectious disease adviser to U.S. President Joe Biden, warned that 240,000 people would die from the virus, even under strict outbound restrictions. That number, the NYT notes, was unimaginable at the time. And less than a year later, the prophecy not only proved its worth, but also exceeded expectations.
Today we have reached a truly grim, heartbreaking milestone – 500,000 71 dead
Said Joe Biden at the White House on Monday, reminding him that
The UNITED STATES has set a global record not only in the number of fatalities, but also in the number of people infected – with 28.1 million Americans.
In his speech of mourning, Biden, in addition to sharing in the pain of the relatives of the deceased, called on the country to unite in the fight against the virus. He vowed that the day would come when the American people would smile again.
He concluded his speech with a minute of silence in the lighted garden of the White House, among his wife and Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband.
In honor of the victims, the U.S. president ordered that national flags be lowered to half-masts at all federal buildings for five days, and the bells of the Washington National Cathedral were ringed 500 times on Monday, once in memory of every 1,000 dead.
With the sad milestone reached, the New York Times recalls that in the absence of proper treatment of the epidemic, deaths, although the first wave survived the United States relatively well. The first case of infection was recorded a year earlier, on February 6 last year, in California. By the end of May, the death toll had reached 100,000, but with the onset of summer, the mortality rate began to stagnate.
Four months later, the list of the dead has expanded by another 100,000 people, and with the virus appearing in every corner of the country, the number of deaths has had to rise almost unstoppably. Again, three months later, the counter was already at 300,000 victims, and just five weeks later, it reached 400,000 for the new year.
In addition, the epidemic hit minorities much harder: their African Americans, Hispanics and Indigenous people had an average of twice as many death rates.
On Monday, however, a much lower number was reported than the average of 3,300 in January: “only” 1,900 deaths were recorded. Nevertheless, it is too early to sit back, with the spread of virus variants, it is not yet possible to say how the future will develop; Fauci also warned that he would still have to wear a mask next year.
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