President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and her husband Doug Emhoff participate in a moment of silence during a ceremony to honor the 500,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19, at the White House, on Monday night. Photo: AP/Evan Vucci
world

COVID-19 death toll in U.S. tops 500,000

34 Comments
By HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH and TAMMY WEBBER

The COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. topped 500,000 Monday, a staggering number that all but matches the number of Americans killed in World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined.

President Joe Biden held a sunset moment of silence and a candle-lighting ceremony at the White House and ordered American flags lowered at federal buildings for the next five days.

“We have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow,” Biden said. "We have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or a blur.”

The half-million milestone, as recorded by Johns Hopkins University, comes as states redouble efforts to get the coronavirus vaccine into arms after last week’s winter weather closed clinics, slowed vaccine deliveries and forced tens of thousands of people to miss their shots.

Despite the rollout of vaccines since mid-December, a closely watched model from the University of Washington projects more than 589,000 dead by June 1.

The U.S. toll is by far the highest reported in the world, accounting for 20 percent of the nearly 2.5 million coronavirus deaths globally, though the true numbers are thought to be significantly greater, in part because many cases were overlooked, especially early in the outbreak.

The first known deaths from the virus in the U.S. were in early February 2020. It took four months to reach the first 100,000 deaths. The toll hit 200,000 in September and 300,000 in December, then took just over a month to go from 300,000 to 400,000 and another month to climb from 400,000 to 500,000.

The U.S. recorded an estimated 405,000 deaths in World War II, 58,000 in the Vietnam War and 36,000 in the Korean War.

Average daily deaths and cases have plummeted in the past few weeks. Virus deaths have fallen from more than 4,000 reported on some days in January to an average of fewer than 1,900 per day.

But experts warn that dangerous variants could cause the trend to reverse itself. And some experts say not enough Americans have been inoculated yet for the vaccine to be making much of a difference.

Instead, the drop-off in deaths and cases has been attributed to the passing of the holidays; the cold and bleak days of midwinter, when many people stay home; and better adherence to mask rules and social distancing.

Dr Ryan Stanton, an emergency room physician in Lexington, Kentucky, who has treated scores of COVID-19 patients, said he never thought the U.S. deaths would be so high.

“I was one of those early ones that thought this may be something that may hit us for a couple months ... I definitely thought we would be done with it before we got into the fall. And I definitely didn’t see it heading off into 2021,” Stanton said.

Kristy Sourk, an intensive-care nurse at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center in Hutchinson, Kansas, said she is encouraged by the declining caseload and progress in vaccinating people, but “I know we are so far from over.”

People "are still dying, and families are still isolated from their loved ones who are unable to be with them so that is still pretty heart-wrenching,” she said.

Snow, ice and weather-related power outages closed some vaccination sites and held up shipments across a large swath of the nation, including in the Deep South.

As a result, the seven-day rolling average of administered first doses fell by 20 percent between Feb 14 and Feb 21, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The White House said that about a third of the roughly 6 million vaccine doses delayed by bad weather were delivered over the weekend, with the rest expected to be delivered by mid-week, several days earlier than originally expected. White House coronavirus response coordinator Andy Slavitt on Monday attributed the improved timeline to an “all-out, round-the-clock” effort over the weekend that included employees at one vaccine distributor working night shifts to pack vaccines.

In Louisiana, state health officials said some doses from last week’s shipments were delivered over the weekend and were expected to continue arriving through Wednesday. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week’s supply arrived Monday. And in Nashville, Tennessee, health officials were able to vaccinate more than 2,300 senior citizens and teachers over the weekend after days of treacherous weather.

Mary Pettersch, an 80-year-old Overland Park, Kansas, retiree who is spending the winter with her 83-year-old husband in Palmhurst, Texas, anticipated that the second dose they were supposed to get on Tuesday will be delayed because of last week’s harsh weather.

She made multiple calls to health officials Monday, but they weren’t returned. Still, she wasn’t too worried.

“Oh, I would like to get it, but if I can’t get it here, I will get it back home,” she said, noting that she is returning to Kansas in April. “At 80 you don’t get frustrated anymore,” she said.

Some hospitals, clinics, community sites and pharmacies that are in Louisiana’s vaccination network will get double allocations of doses this week — just as Gov John Bel Edwards starts offering shots to teachers, daycare workers, pregnant women and people age 55 to 64 with certain preexisting conditions.

New York City officials expected to catch up on vaccinations after being forced to delay scheduling tens of thousands of appointments last week, the mayor said Monday.

“That means we’ve basically lost a full week in our vaccination efforts,” DeBlasio said.

More than 44 million Americans have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and about 1.6 million per day received either first or second dose over the past seven days, according to the CDC.

The nation's supply could expand significantly if health regulators approve a single-shot COVID-19 vaccine developed by drugmaker Johnson & Johnson.

The company said it will be able to provide 20 million U.S. doses by the end of March if it gets the green light, and would have capacity to provide 100 million vaccine doses to the U.S. by the end of June.

That supply will help government officials reach the goal of having enough injections to vaccinate most adult Americans later this year. On a global scale, the company aims to produce 1 billion doses this year.

J&J disclosed the figures in written testimony ahead of a congressional hearing on Tuesday looking at the country’s vaccine supply. White House officials cautioned last week that initial supplies of J&J’s vaccine would be limited.

U.S. health regulators are still reviewing the safety and effectiveness of the shot, and a decision to allow its emergency use is expected later this week.

The J&J vaccine would be the first in the U.S. that requires only a single shot. The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses spaced several weeks apart.

© 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

34 Comments

Comments have been disabled You can no longer respond to this thread.

Insanity.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Soooo....when is it going to magically disappear?

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Tragic.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

SimondBToday  10:20 am JST

Soooo....when is it going to magically disappear?

I think someone said hopefully by Easter 2020.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

And the guy who said that "we have turned the corner" a number of times, looks to be setting himself to run again in 2024!

11 ( +18 / -7 )

The dead are Trump’s legacy.

Biden’s legacy will be turning things around.

7 ( +20 / -13 )

Well done Mr. Trump. Your legacy.

9 ( +20 / -11 )

@Reckless.

Has nothing to do with Trump. If you are looking to place blame on one singularity thing/ or person.

I keep hearing commentators here blaming Trump for the virus here J.T.

"I don't blame President Trump for the coronavirus pandemic," which any thinking person should agree with. The President blames China for not containing the virus at its inception, but given the transmission rates and how the virus spread throughout the world, even before we knew how widespread it was, it seems like a sign that likely no country could have contained the virus. 

The ban on travel to the United States is hailed by some as a key move taken by the administration. We know that their were 40,000 people who returned to the United States from China after the ban was implemented. Then, since tens of thousands of people travel to and from China, this means the virus was already widespread, but undetected in Europe, which is believed to have been a key source of infections that ended up in New York City. 

I have never heard of a president or any other elected official being blamed for a disaster. The president doesn't cause an earthquake, hurricane, or tornado. The blame for these events comes not from the cause. But the blame can come for the response. You only have to ask President George W. Bush about Hurricane Katrina. He was not blamed for anything to do with the wind, flooding and someone losing the roof on their home. The blame came to roost over the response of the federal government cause Democrats and Republican could not work together under Trump administration. A conversation for another day.

Placing blame.

 One of the most effective parts of the virus are its spike proteins, molecules on the outside of the virus which it uses to grab hold of and then penetrate the outer walls of human and animal cells.

There are two key features in the novel coronavirus' spike proteins which make its evolution a certainty.

The first is what's called the receptor-binding domain (RBD) which they describe as "a kind of grappling hook that grips on to host cells", while the second is known as the cleavage site, "a molecular can opener that allows the virus to crack open and enter host cells".

If researchers were actually going to design a virus to harm humans then it would be constructed from the backbone of a virus already known to cause illness.

However the coronavirus backbone is radically different to those which are already known to affect humans, and in fact are most similar to viruses which are found in bats and pangolins.

"These two features of the virus, the mutations in the RBD portion of the spike protein and its distinct backbone, rules out laboratory manipulation as a potential origin for the coronavirus.

You must then blame the source.

China. Wet markets, accidental exposure. I used to think it was a man made bioweapon.

But no longer.

500.000 thousand souls lost. Many more in the world.

From day 1. I have said China needs to held accountable for this.

That is where the blame should lie in my view.

Very disturbing these numbers of the dead.

-13 ( +11 / -24 )

He's been President just over a month. Total failure.

yet infection have dropped dramatically since inauguration day. 188,000 per day to 55000 per day in one month. yeah amazing what a bit of leadership can do. incubation takes between 2~4 weeks, meaning most of the people that have died in the last month were infected while Trump was president. yes agree total failure from last president. over 26million infected while Trump was president

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#trends_dailytrendscases

10 ( +19 / -9 )

You own what happens on your watch.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

The ban on travel to the United States is hailed by some as a key move taken by the administration. We know that their were 40,000 people who returned to the United States from China after the ban was implemented. 

travel from the EU wasnt stopped until March, Amerricans returning home werent stopped of even tested. nobody if blaming Trump for the virus, theyre are blaming him for the virus response which was pathetic and why 26million became infected while he was president

6 ( +10 / -4 )

SlickdrifterToday  11:52 am JST

You must then blame the source.

China. Wet markets, accidental exposure. I used to think it was a man made bioweapon.

But no longer.

500.000 thousand souls lost. Many more in the world.

From day 1. I have said China needs to be held accountable for this.

The world should never, ever forget this.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

You own what happens on your watch.

I agree over 26million infected over 400000 dead on Trumps watch. stock markets reached a record high recently under Biden presidency, Biden must own that as well.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

trump "the greatest disappointment as president in US History" has responsibility for 500,000 deaths, government insurrection, and 2 impeachments as his legacy.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

@Slickdrifter, nobody blames Trump for the virus, it's his utter incompetence in trying to do anything about it that is the problem. He didn't just do nothing about it, he actively made it worse - encouraging people to not wear masks, super-spreader events etc.

A vaguely competent president could surely have halved the death toll. THAT'S what people blame him for.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

Has nothing to do with Trump. If you are looking to place blame on one singularity thing/ or person.

Sorry, he encouraged everyone to rip off their masks after he got world class medical treatment reserved for presidents. The man caused thousands of deaths with his ego and incompetence. He will go down as one of the worst presidents in history. He was still infected in the White House and walking around without a mask. He does not care about you or me or anyone except himself and his sullied legacy.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

trump "the greatest disappointment as president in US History" has responsibility for 500,000 deaths, government insurrection, and 2 impeachments as his legacy.

worst economic recession in 70yrs , 20 million lost jobs, higher unemployment when he left office than when he started, highest rate of Americans on food stamps ever, record trade deficit of $7trillion in 4yrs.

1st president in 90yrs to lose the house , senate and presidency in his 1st term

8 ( +11 / -3 )

That is where the blame should lie in my view.

I'm surprised when I read people claiming to be career military ignoring the mistakes that occurred while the 'commanding officer' was in charge, especially while during the time that commanding officer was in charge 400,000 of his 'people' died, millions were sickened, and the stable economy he inherited from his predecessor was ravaged. Were he a general, he'd go down in history as among the worst ever to lead, As a 'war president', I think history will show he was the worst. Ever.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The death rate has seemingly spiked upward since Biden took office. Biden/ Harris - for the good of your country resign now. You are literally killing America.

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

The death rate has seemingly spiked upward since Biden took office.

Nope. Still Trump, Trump supporters, and Republican's doing.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

The numbers are false!

*overblown and untrue

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

From day 1. I have said China needs to held accountable for this.

That is where the blame should lie in my view

Yep..but anything which could be remotely connected to Trump..will be blamed on Trump.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

The Trumpandemic rolls on...

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Good luck to America. Many happy years living there. Once everything is safe and sound, will be trying to move back there for life's latter years.

I miss the variety and mixture of nationalities that Japan just doesn't offer unfortunately.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Trump admitted to Bob Woodward in interviews in early 2020 that Covid was serious ...::yet his administration’s response was staggeringly negligent.

Scott Atlas was begging for herd immunity yet this would need millions of American deaths before this would come to realization.

Pandemicide should be a word Webster’s may want to consider.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Trump only cared about COVID to the extent that it would hurt his reelection campaign. He often said outrageous and obviously false information in order to help himself.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Hospitals around the world are pressured and/or incentivized to write ‘Covid’ on death certificates-why is that?

Something is extremely suspect when India has only 157,000 deaths from Covid and the US has over 500000!

India has a far larger population and limited medical resources compared with the US.

Why the difference?

We are being manipulated at the worst or at the best not being protected at all...

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

President Joe Biden held a sunset moment of silence and a candle-lighting ceremony at the White House and ordered American flags lowered at federal buildings for the next five days.

What a difference in the attitude and approach!!!

donald would have spent the day playing golf.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

You own what happens on your watch

Going by this classic left logic, all the leaders of all the countries are responsible for the virus..

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The death rate has seemingly spiked upward since Biden took office.

and yet the stats show infection have dropped dramatically since Biden took office Jan 20

over 26million infected while Trump was president .

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#trends_dailytrendscases

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Something is extremely suspect when India has only 157,000 deaths from Covid and the US has over 500000!

India has a far larger population and limited medical resources compared with the US.

That points to a inconvenient fact..where sizable population has existing medical conditions..another factor is diet.. As for limited medical resources..you are living in a alternate reality..for starters majority of the vaccines are made in that country, and they are providing the vaccine for covid "free" to around 50 countries.

https://www.livemint.com/news/india/indias-vaccine-diplomacy-wins-friends-in-caribbean-11613916264424.html

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Going by this classic left logic, all the leaders of all the countries are responsible for the virus..

They are all responsible for how they handled the virus within their own nations. Nobody has denied the initial failure that was China’s handling of it.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Going by this classic left logic, all the leaders of all the countries are responsible for the virus..

For their response to it, yes.

It's why Ardern has received so much praise for her competent leadership.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Trump admitted to Bob Woodward in interviews in early 2020 that Covid was serious …

…….and yet incredibly asked why Bob Woodward did not say anything about it. As though he was at fault for not advising the country that this was deadly serious. Is this not what Presidents, leaders of a country are meant to do? Trump blamed a journalist for not advising of a disease that would go on to kill 500,000 people and infect 25 million more? And had Bob Woodward actually done this Trump would have called fake news - worst reporter ever - and assured the nation that it would magically disappear anytime soon.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites