COVID-19 deaths exceed 500,000 in US as virus variant presents new threats

Deaths by
Covid-19 in the United States surpassed the grim milestone of 500,000 on Monday while key indicators of virus transmission in the country declined, while emerging variants raise new concerns.

As of 06:23 pm EST (2323 GMT) on Monday, 500,172 Americans have died from causes related to the Covid-19 and infections have exceeded 28.1 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) tally.

The United States is the country with the most deaths in the world due to Covid-19, accounting for half a million deaths. More than 111.6 million people have been infected and more than 2.47 million have died globally, according to the JHU data.

« We lost more lives to this virus than any other nation on Earth, » said US President Joe Biden, observing a moment of silence and witnessing a candlelight ceremony at the White House in honor of the deceased.

« In recognizing the magnitude of this massive death in America, we remember each person and the life they lived, » said the president, who was joined by First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff.

« We ask you to join us in remembering them, so that we can heal and find purpose, as we demonstrate that there is light in the darkness, » Biden said.

Hours earlier, the US president ordered all US flags to fly at half-staff for five days in all federal buildings and military posts both in the United States and abroad.

The first confirmed case of Covid-19 In the United States, it was reported on January 19, 2020 in the state of Washington. One year later, on January 19, 2021, the last full day of the presidency of Donald trump, the death toll from the disease reached 400,000.

The first death by Covid-19 in the country it was registered in early February of last year in Santa Clara County, California, and the country only took four months to reach 100,000 deaths at the end of May.

« It’s terrible and it’s also historic. We haven’t seen anything like it in more than 100 years since the 1918 influenza pandemic, » Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, told the show on Sunday. NBC’s « Meet the Press », in reference to the staggering numbers.

In an interview with the . news agency on Monday, Fauci noted that political divisions contributed largely to the huge death toll from Covid-19 in United States.

The sad « milestone » comes at a time when the trend in key transmission indicators of the Coronavirus In the US it continues to decline, although health experts have warned the public not to lower their guard, taking into account that the country has been experiencing an upturn in infections due to variants of the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19.

« We continue to see trends in the right direction. However, cases, hospitalizations and deaths still remain at very high levels, » the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Monday. ) from the USA, Rochelle Walensky, during the press conference on the Covid-19.

As detailed, new cases have been declining steadily for five weeks, while the average of seven days of new infections currently stands at 66,000 positives per day, a drop of 74 percent compared to the top figure recorded on January 11.

Right now, the seven-day average of new hospitalizations is 6,500 daily, 60 percent below the peak reached on Jan. 9, Walensky said, adding that the seven-day average of deaths stands at 1,900. , 39 percent less than the previous record.

« The vaccination campaign is the main reason for the drops in new cases, deaths and hospitalizations, » Zhang Zuofeng, professor of epidemiology and associate dean for research at the University of California School of Public Health, told Xinhua. The Angels.

As of Monday, more than 75 million doses of vaccines have been distributed against Covid-19 across the United States, of which more than 64 million doses have been administered, according to CDC data.

Biden’s national vaccination campaign aims to deliver 100 million doses of two-phase vaccines against Covid-19 in his first 100 days of government.

The decline in cases, hospitalizations and deaths is encouraging, said Stanley Perlman, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Iowa.

« It may mean that we have overcome the Christmas slump, » he told Xinhua in an interview.

« It is too early to know if this is a tipping point because new and more contagious variants are circulating in the United States, » Perlman said.

A total of 1,688 cases of infection due to variants of the Coronavirus in the United States through Sunday, according to the CDC.

The vast majority of these infections, 1,661, were caused by the strain known as B.1.1.7, which was originally detected in Great Britain.

There were 22 cases of a new variant initially discovered in South Africa, called B.1.351, and five cases of the P.1 strain first discovered in Brazil.

The model data suggests that B.1.1.7 could become the predominant variant in the United States in March.

« We hope that the deployment of the Vaccine outgrow the spread of variants, « Perlman said.

« The vaccines may provide some protection against the variants, » Zhang said. « If we can complete the mass vaccination to achieve general immunity before the variants settle, the situation could be brought under control. »

« Otherwise, if the Vaccine comes later than the spread of variants and new strains develop in the form of a pandemic, it will bring great disaster, « said Zhang.

Zhang predicted that based on the current vaccination rate, about 75 percent of the US population will already be immunized by July or August.

Americans may still need to wear chinstraps in 2022 to protect against the coronavirus, even as the United States can reach « a significant degree of normalcy » by the end of 2021, Fauci said Sunday, emphasizing the importance of mitigation measures to combat the pandemic.

An analysis model of Coronavirus predicted an estimated 589,197 deaths from Covid-19 in the United States for June 1.

According to the latest forecast from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, the outcome depends on the deployment of the Vaccine and the spread of variants. In the worst case, the number of deaths could reach 616,341.

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Xinhua Source