More than 500,000 people in the United States with coronavirus have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, the death toll by far the highest of any country in the world.
The country hit a heartbreaking toll on Monday, barely a year later the first known death has been reported in the state of California.
US President Joe Biden, who will hold a moment of silence at the White House Monday evening, issued a proclamation urging Americans to remember all those who died during the pandemic.
“As of this week, during the dark winter of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 500,000 Americans have now died from the virus,” Biden said in his statement.
“More Americans have died in a single year from this pandemic than in WWI, WWII and the Vietnam War combined. On this solemn occasion, we reflect on their loss and their loved ones left behind. As a nation, we need to remember this so that we can begin to heal, unite, and find purpose as a nation to overcome this pandemic.
In recent weeks, COVID-19 infection rates have started to plummet as the Biden administration ramps up vaccinations and puts more public health restrictions in place to try to stem the spread of the virus.
But on Sunday, Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, said that as the number of cases declined rapidly from a recent peak, Americans must remain cautious because the United States has failed. not yet vaccinated enough people to achieve collective immunity.
“We haven’t seen anything so close to this in over 100 years since the 1918 influenza pandemic. It’s something that’s astonishing when you look at the numbers – almost unbelievable, but it’s true.” , Fauci said in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press program.
“The slope going down is really fantastic – it’s very steep and it goes down very, very quickly. But we are still at a very high level, ”he said.
“The baseline for daily infections is always very, very high … We want to get that baseline really, really, really low before we start to think we’re out of the woods.”
US lawmakers from the Republican and Democratic parties will hold a minute’s silence in Congress on Tuesday to mark the grim toll of 500,000 coronavirus-related deaths.
Biden has pledged to take a more aggressive approach to bringing the pandemic under control than his predecessor, Donald Trump, who downplayed the threat of the virus and the need to promulgate strict public health guidelines.
He has pledged to administer 100 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine in his first 100 days in office, and he is pushing Congress will pass a $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that it says will provide much-needed help to hard-hit families.
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that the Biden administration should also “take various steps to examine the previous administration’s response to the pandemic and what lessons we need to learn to make it happen. does not happen again ”.
Sullivan also said the United States wanted to see a “credible, open and transparent international investigation by the World Health Organization” into the pandemic.
The Biden administration slammed China after reports revealed Beijing had refuse provide raw data to WHO as part of the organization’s investigation into the origins of the virus.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, the United States had distributed just over 75.2 million vaccines across the country, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
More than 18.8 million people have received two doses of the vaccine, while 43.6 million have received one.
Kristen Saloomey of Al Jazeera, of Washington, DC, said Biden appears to be on track to meet his goal of inoculating 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of his administration.
But she said there were issues with administering jabs once vaccine doses reached U.S. states.
“There are still a lot of people who need these vaccines and a lot of issues that need to be addressed, but the death rate and the infection rate here in the United States [have] dropped quite significantly in recent days, so there is reason to be hopeful, ”Saloomey reported.
In hard-hit California, Governor Gavin Newsom on Saturday mentionned the state had administered over seven million strokes.
# COVID-19[FEMALE[FEMININE UPDATE:
We have now administered 6.93 million vaccines.
A month ago, we reported 24,000 cases. Today: 6,798 cases.
A month ago, we reported a positivity rate of 9.9%. Today: 3.1%.
Hospitalizations are down 39%.
ICUs are down 35%.
– Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) February 19, 2021
On Friday, Newsom said California’s COVID-19 positivity rate was 3.1%, down from 9.9% a month earlier, while hospitalizations and intensive care admissions were 39% and 35% respectively .
“Progress,” he tweeted.