US records 5 lakh COVID-19 deaths till date, equal to the toll of three wars

Washington: The COVID-19 death toll in the United States topped 5 lakh on February 22, 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.

The US recorded an estimated 4,05,000 deaths in World War II, 58,000 in the Vietnam War and 36,000 in the Korean War.

The count, 5,00,071, is more than double the number in absolute terms of reported deaths in Brazil, which has the world’s second highest toll. The lives lost, as recorded by Johns Hopkins University on Monday, are about equal to the population of Kansas City, Missouri, and greater than that of Miami; Raleigh, North Carolina; or Omaha, Nebraska.

The US toll is by far the highest reported in the world, accounting for 20 per cent 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.

After the first Covid-19 death was announced in the U.S in February 2020, it took about three months to pass the 1,00,000 mark, during a first wave that hit New York particularly hard.

The catastrophic US figure comes as some signs of hope are emerging in the world’s hardest-hit country, with millions of people now vaccinated and winter’s massive spike in infections dropping.

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