The number of coronavirus deaths in the United States surpassed 500,000 on Monday, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University.
The US has by far the highest COVID death toll of any country in the world, with 20% of the nearly 2.5 million global deaths from coronavirus.
The 500,000 Americans who have died from coronavirus nearly match the death toll from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War combined.
What did Biden say?
President Joe Biden on Monday said the death toll was a “truly grim, heartbreaking milestone,” while urging people to resist “viewing each life as a statistic.”
“As a nation, we can’t accept such a cruel fate. While we’ve been fighting this pandemic for so long, we have to resist becoming numb to sorrow,” Biden said during an emotional speech at the White House.
“I ask all Americans to remember, remember those we lost and those they left behind,” Biden said.
“I also ask us to act, to remain vigilant, to say socially distant, to mask up, to get vaccinated.”
What are experts saying?
Despite the bleak milestone, the number of new cases and deaths in the US has dropped over the past several weeks.
On January 21, the seven-day average of US COVID deaths was just over 4,000. On February 21, that average was 1,890, according to the COVID tracking project.
The country’s nationwide vaccination campaign, which started in December, has already inoculated a total of 64.2 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But despite the dip in deaths and cases, and mass-vaccination, a model from the University of Washington predicts 90,000 more COVID-related deaths in the US by June.
wmr/rs (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)