Grim milestone! US to hit 500,000 COVID deaths

The United States is just shy of 500,000 lives lost to the coronavirus which was first reported there a year ago.

President Joe Biden (right) and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (left) tour a Pfizer manufacturing site in Portage, Michigan on February 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The nation will reach the grim milestone by the end of this week, with its top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci calling it “historic”. Fauci, who leads the US response to the virus which gas infected over 28 million Americans, said “It’s nothing like we’ve ever been through in the last 102 years since the 1918 influenza pandemic.”

“It really is a terrible situation that we’ve been through and that we’re still going through. And that’s the reason why we keep insisting to continue with the public health measures — because we don’t want this to get much worse than it already is,” continued Fauci.

At the time of publishing, some 498,901 Americans have lost their lives to COVID-19, according to the John Hopkins virus tracker, with another 91,000 projected to die by June 1, according to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

“It’s nothing like we’ve ever been through in the last 102 years since the 1918 influenza pandemic.”

– Dr Anthony Fauci

Despite a decline in new cases and hospitalisations in recent weeks, as the US rolls out its vaccination campaign and ramps up protocols, new variants of the virus pose a real threat to progress being made.

So far, 43.6 million Americans have received at least the first dose of a vaccine with Fauci estimating that between 70% and 85% of the population will need to be immunised to achieve herd immunity.