US COVID death toll reaches 800,000

(AP) – US death toll from COVID-19 topped 800,000 on Tuesday, an unimaginable number once considered doubly tragic, given that more than 200,000 of those people died after the vaccine was actually made available in the spring of this year. last.

The death toll, compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the populations of Atlanta and St. Louis combined, or Minneapolis and Cleveland combined. It roughly equates to the number of Americans who die each year from heart disease or stroke.

The United States is the country with the highest number of reported deaths. The US accounts for about 4% of the world’s population but about 15% of the 5.3 million known coronavirus deaths since the outbreak broke out in China two years ago.

The true death toll in the US and worldwide is thought to be significantly higher because cases are ignored or hidden.

A closely watched forecasting model from the University of Washington predicted a total of more than 880,000 deaths reported in the US by March 1.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday noted what he called “a tragic milestone.” He again urged unvaccinated Americans to vaccinate themselves and their children, and urged those who were vaccinated to get booster shots.

“I urge all Americans: do your patriotic duty to keep our country safe, protect yourself and those around you, and remember all those who lost their lives. we’ve lost,” Biden said. “Now is the time.”

Health experts lament that many of the deaths in the United States are particularly heartbreaking because they are preventable with a vaccine, which has been available since mid-December a year ago and is made public until now. all adults by mid-April this year.

About 200 million Americans are fully vaccinated, or just over 60% of the population. That falls short of what scientists say is necessary to control the virus.

“Almost all of the deaths today are preventable deaths,” said Dr. Chris Beyrer, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “And that’s because they weren’t vaccinated. And you know, my God, it was a terrible tragedy.”

When this vaccine first hit the market, the death toll in the country was around 300,000. It hit 600,000 between June and 700,000 on October 1.

The US has passed the latest threshold with the number of cases and hospitalizations rising again with a spike due to the highly contagious delta variant, which emerged in the first half of 2021 and is now practically the cause of the virus. out all infections. Currently, the omicron variant is gaining a foothold in the water, although scientists aren’t sure how dangerous it is.

Beyrer recalls that in March or April 2020, one of the worst-case scenarios forecast up to 240,000 Americans lost their lives.

“And I saw that number, and I thought it was incredible – 240,000 Americans dead?” he say. “And we’ve now surpassed that number three times.” He added: “And I think it’s fair to say we’re not out of the woods yet.” US COVID death toll reaches 800,000


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