US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surpasses 500,000

US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surpasses 500,000

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.

“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.”

The grim milestone comes nearly a year after the first fatality from the virus was recorded in the country. The US death toll of 500,071 is by far the highest in the world, and almost double the 246,504 deaths in Brazil, the country with the second-highest number of fatalities, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The number of US coronavirus cases and hospitalisations experienced their biggest increases after the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The daily death toll surpassed more than 4,000 several times during January, making it the deadliest month of the pandemic in the US, with more than 94,000 confirmed fatalities.

President Joe Biden ordered flags at the White House and on federal property to be lowered to half-mast for the next five days out of respect for the victims.

“We have to resist viewing each life as a statistic,” he said on Monday evening ahead of a candle lighting ceremony.

“As we all remember, I also ask us to act, to remain vigilant, to stay socially distant, to mask up, to get vaccinated when it’s your turn. We must end the politics and misinformation that has divided families, communities and the country and has cost too many lives already.”

There have been signs in recent days that the US has managed to wrestle the disease’s trajectory downwards after a punishing few months that saw hospitals overwhelmed.