New Delhi: The death toll from COVID-19 in the United States surpassed 8,00,000 on Tuesday, a once-unthinkable figure seen as doubly tragic given that more than 2,00,000 of those lives were lost after the vaccine became practically free last spring.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the number of deaths is roughly equal to the population of Atlanta and St. Louis combined, or Minneapolis and Cleveland combined. It is roughly equivalent to the number of Americans who die each year as a result of heart disease or stroke.
The United States has the highest reported death toll of any country, accounting for approximately 4% of the world’s population but accounting for approximately 15% of the 5.3 million known deaths from the coronavirus since the outbreak began in China two years ago.
The true death toll in the United States and around the world is thought to be much higher due to cases that were overlooked or concealed. According to a closely watched forecasting model from the University of Washington, there will be over 8,80,000 reported deaths in the United States by March 1.
Many of the deaths in the United States were especially heartbreaking because they could have been avoided with the vaccine, which became available in mid-December of last year and was made available to all adults by mid-April of this year.
Approximately 200 million Americans, or slightly more than 60% of the population, are fully vaccinated. That falls far short of what scientists believe is required to keep the virus in check.
“Almost all of the deaths are now preventable,” said Dr. Chris Beyrer, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “That’s because they haven’t been immunised. And you know it’s a terrible tragedy, God.”
When the vaccine was first introduced, the country’s death toll was around 30,000. It peaked at 600,000 in mid-June and reached 700,000 on October 1.
The United States has crossed the most recent threshold, with cases and hospitalizations on the rise once more, fueled by the highly contagious delta variant, which arrived in the first half of 2021 and now accounts for nearly all infections. The omicron variant is now spreading throughout the country, though scientists are unsure how dangerous it is.