900,000 Americans die of COVID-19 in new grim milestone

U.S. death toll from COVID-19 hit 900,000 on Friday, less than two months after eclipsing 800,000, figures by John Hopkins University showed.

The heavy death toll recorded in two years is greater than the population of Indianapolis, San Francisco, or Charlotte, North Carolina.

It was propelled in part by the wildly contagious omicron variant.

Experts said COVID-19 is not finished with the U.S. yet as the country may hit one million deaths by April.

Making the grim projection was Dr. Ashish K. Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.

The grim milestone comes more than 13 months into a vaccination drive that has been beset by misinformation and political and legal strife.

Just 64% of the population is fully vaccinated, or about 212 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We got the medical science right. We failed on the social science. We failed on how to help people get vaccinated, to combat disinformation, to not politicize this,” Jha said.

“Those are the places where we have failed as America.”

The latest bleak milestone came as omicron is loosening its grip on the country.

New cases per day have plunged by almost a half-million since mid-January, when they hit a record-shattering peak of more than 800,000.

Cases have been declining in 49 states in the last two weeks, by Johns Hopkins’ count.

The 50th state Maine, reported that confirmed infections are falling there, too, dropping sharply over the past week.

Also, the number of Americans in the hospital with COVID-19 has declined 15% since mid-January to about 124,000.

Deaths are still running high at more than 2,400 per day on average, the most since last winter.

And they are on the rise in at least 35 states, reflecting the lag between when victims become infected and when they succumb.

Still, public health officials have expressed hope that the worst of omicron is coming to an end.

While they caution that things could still go bad again and dangerous new variants could emerge, some places are already talking about easing precautions.

By comparison, United States leads the world in both confirmed COVID-19 cases and fatalities.

So far, the U.S. has recorded over 77 million cases and over 900,000 deaths.

India is second with 42 million cases, but third in death toll of over 500,000.

Brazil logged the second highest COVID-19 fatalities in the world, standing at over 630,000 as at Friday.

But the Latin American country has had 26,275,831 cases, according to worldometers.info.

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