US death toll from Covid hits 9,00,000, sped by Omicron

US death toll from Covid hits 9,00,000, sped by Omicron

Washington: Propelled in part by the wildly contagious omicron variant, the US death toll from COVID-19 hit 900,000 on Friday, less than two months after eclipsing 800,000.

The two-year total, as compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of Indianapolis, San Francisco, or Charlotte, North Carolina.

The milestone comes more than 13 months into a vaccination drive that has been beset by misinformation and political and legal strife, though the shots have proved safe and highly effective at preventing serious illness and death.

It is an astronomically high number. If you had told most Americans two years ago as this pandemic was getting going that 900,000 Americans would die over the next few years, I think most people would not have believed it, said Dr. Ashish K. Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.

He lamented that most of the deaths happened after the vaccine gained authorisation.

We got the medical science right. We failed on the social science. We failed on how to help people get vaccinated, to combat disinformation, to not politicize this, Jha said. Those are the places where we have failed as America.

President Joe Biden lamented the milestone in a statement Friday night, saying, After nearly two years, I know that the emotional, physical, and psychological weight of this pandemic has been incredibly difficult to bear.

He again urged Americans to get vaccinations and booster shots. Two hundred and fifty million Americans have stepped up to protect themselves, their families, and their communities by getting at least one shot and we have saved more than one million American lives as a result, Biden said.

Just 64 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated, or about 212 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nor is COVID-19 finished with the United States: Jha said the U.S. could reach 1 million deaths by April.

Among the dead is Susan Glister-Berg, 53, of Sterling Heights, Michigan, whose children had to take her off a ventilator just before Thanksgiving after COVID-19 ravaged her lungs and kidneys.

She's always cared more about people than she did herself. She always took care of everyone, said a daughter, Hali Fortuna. That's how we all describe her: She cared for everyone. Very selfless.

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