TUESDAY, Feb. 23, 2021 — President Joe Biden marked the unthinkable milestone of half a million Americans lost to coronavirus with a somber, candlelit ceremony at the White House on Monday night.
“The people we lost were extraordinary,” Biden said. “They span generations. Born in America, immigrated to America. But just like that, so many of them took their final breath alone in America.”
The nation’s coronavirus death toll is now higher than in any other country in the world. It has surpassed early predictions of loss by some federal experts, and more Americans have died from COVID-19 than did on the battlefields of World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined, The New York Times reported.
The United States now accounts for about 20 percent of the world’s known coronavirus-related deaths, but makes up just 4.25 percent of the global population, the Times reported.
About 1 in 670 Americans has died of COVID-19, and it has become a leading cause of death in the country, along with heart disease and cancer, the Times said. The pandemic has also driven down life expectancy more drastically than seen in decades.
During the early days of the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, and Dr. Deborah Birx, the official coordinating the coronavirus response at the time, projected that even with strict stay-at-home orders, the virus might eventually kill as many as 240,000 Americans — a number that seemed unimaginable at the time…