Biden marks ‘tragic milestone’ as US hits one million COVID deaths

US

The United States has surpassed more than one million COVID-related deaths, the White House has said.

The country, with a population of 329.5 million people, has recorded more than 80 million cases of coronavirus and has the highest number of reported deaths globally so far.

President Joe Biden called it a “tragic milestone” and urged Americans to stay “vigilant against this pandemic”.

He told those grieving: “I know the pain of that black hole in your heart. It is unrelenting.

“But I also know the ones you love are never truly gone. They will always be with you.”

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About 220 million Americans have been fully vaccinated but COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations continue to rise, although deaths are decreasing.

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Mr Biden added: “We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lived as possible, as we have with more testing, vaccines, and treatments than ever before.

“In remembrance, let us draw strength from each other as fellow Americans. For while we have been humbled, we never give up.”

The virus claimed 36 lives in the US before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a global pandemic in March 2020.

Since then, the country has seen several spikes as new variants have taken hold, with California, Texas and Florida among the states worst hit.

Medical staff treat a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, California, U.S., January 25, 2022.  REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton.
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COVID cases and hospitalisations are still rising in the US

Brazil (664,000) and India (524,000) have the next highest numbers of deaths behind the US. About 176,000 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive test since the start of the pandemic.

The WHO estimates the pandemic has caused about 15 million deaths around the world due to a “significant undercount of total deaths directly and indirectly attributed to COVID-19”, although the official number reported is around six million.

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