The United States passes the 400,000 death mark from COVID-19 on the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
More than 400,000 people in the United States have died from the novel coronavirus, Johns Hopkins University said Tuesday, as many states across the country grapple with increasing infections and hospitalizations.
The United States surpassed the 400,000 dead mark on Tuesday afternoon – the highest tally in the world. It has also recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases worldwide, with more than 24.1 million infections since the start of the pandemic.
The grim milestone comes a day before the inauguration of US President-elect Joe Biden, who has vowed to take the pandemic more seriously than President Donald Trump and put in place stronger measures to bring it under control.
Last week Biden ad a $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package designed to revive the struggling US economy and accelerate the US response.
“We must act and we must act now,” he said on Thursday.
Public health officials have criticized the Trump administration’s rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, saying it was slower than expected and “chaotic”.
Many states are struggling to vaccinate people, while hospitalizations and intensive care admissions continue to rise.
California has been particularly affected. The populated state has recorded more than 35,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 in the past seven days, the Los Angeles Times reported, while deaths are also on the rise.
“The state has recorded an average of 466.7 deaths per day over the past week, an increase of 32.2% from two weeks ago,” the newspaper said on its website on Tuesday.
Last week, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that a more infectious strain of COVID-19, first detected in the UK, could become the dominant variant in the US by March.
While this strain is more easily transmitted, experts say it doesn’t cause more serious illness or spread differently.
New CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky told the Face the Nation program this weekend that coronavirus-related deaths in the United States could exceed 500,000 by mid-February.
“I think we still have dark weeks to come,” she said.
Monuments across the United States will be lit up on Tuesday evening as part of a national event led by Biden to honor the lives lost to COVID-19.
Biden and U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will attend a lighting ceremony at the Reflecting Pool at the Lincoln Memorial at 5:15 p.m. ET (10:15 p.m. GMT).