On Monday, the U.S. marked nearly a year since the ongoing coronavirus pandemic arrived on our shores by reaching a horrid milestone: 500,000 Americans dead from the virus.
According to the New York Times, this surpasses the number of Americans who died in World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined.
President Joe Biden held a ceremony at the White House on Monday night to commemorate the many lives lost from the pandemic, reports CBS.
“That’s how you heal—you have to remember,” he said. “And it’s also important to do that as a nation. Those who have lost loved ones, here’s what I know: They’re never truly gone. They’ll always be part of your heart.”
“We have to fight this as one people. As the United States of America...the only way to spare more pain and more loss, the only way,” Biden added.
While the pandemic has had a deadly impact in countries around the world, the U.S. accounts for a staggering 20 percent of the globe’s coronavirus deaths despite only making up 4.25 percent of the world’s population. Data collected by Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center shows that Brazil is second to the U.S. in terms of the number of total COVID-19 deaths but still trails our numbers by a large margin with 248,000 mortalities. India, which has a population of over 1.3 billion, has only recorded about 156,000 COVID-19 deaths.
More than 60,000 Black Americans died from coronavirus by the beginning of February, based on analysis by the APM Research Lab. African Americans, Latinos, and Indigenous people continue to die at higher rates than white Americans, with Black Americans dying from the virus at twice the rate of their white counterparts, according to the CDC.
The most deadly day of coronavirus deaths in America was recorded in January 2021, but the Times reports that the average daily number of COVID-19 deaths dipped to 1,900 at the start of this week—an encouraging trend.
Meanwhile, the Biden Administration is prioritizing funding for vaccine education and outreach in communities of color, which are underrepresented in the number of Americans vaccinated despite suffering higher rates of fatalities from COVID-19.
CDC data shows that as of this week, white Americans accounted for 65 percent of the number of people who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. A little over five percent of those who have received two doses are Black.