Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States reached a grim milestone surpassing 900,000 deaths from the virus on Friday following a surge of the highly-infectious omicron variant, less than two months after reaching 800,000.
According to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, 901,388 Americans have succumbed to the coronavirus over the last two years, more than the populations of major American cities such as San Francisco, Indianapolis and Charlotte.
The bleak toll comes 13 months into the United States’ vaccination campaign. To date, 212,481,465 Americans, or 64.3% of the country, are fully vaccinated.
On Feb. 4, a total of 4,151 Americans died from the virus, with a seven-day average of 3,391 daily deaths, the highest numbers since January 2021, according to the university’s data.
Despite all its wealth and technology, the US has by and large the highest death toll reported of any country in the world. Brazil is next in line with roughly 630,000 reported COVID-19 deaths, followed by India with roughly 500,000 deaths reported.
The milestone prompted a statement from President Joe Biden, in which he mourned those who have died and implored Americans to get vaccinated.
“Today, our nation marks another tragic milestone — 900,000 American lives have been lost to COVID-19,” he said in the statement, released on Friday night. They were beloved mothers and fathers, grandparents, children, brothers and sisters, neighbors, and friends. Each soul is irreplaceable.”
The president acknowledged the toll that the virus has taken on Americans since the pandemic began.
“After nearly two years, I know that the emotional, physical, and psychological weight of this pandemic has been incredibly difficult to bear. I know what it’s like to stare at an empty chair around the kitchen table,” the president said.
Biden thanked the over 250,000,000 Americans who “stepped up” and received at least one vaccination shot, claiming that as a result of this effort over one million lives have been saved.
“We can save even more lives — and spare countless families from the deepest pain imaginable — if everybody does their part. I urge all Americans: get vaccinated, get your kids vaccinated, and get your booster shot if you are eligible. It’s free, easy, and effective — and it can save your life, and the lives of those you love.”