The US death toll from Covid-19 crossed 700,000 on Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with a toll equal to the population of the nation’s capital, Washington.
In a country where 55.7 percent of the population is now fully vaccinated, the grim threshold approaches, with an average of more than 1,000 deaths per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The United States has since organized into the world’s most effective vaccine roll-out, after heavy criticism of its initial response to the pandemic.
But it nevertheless finds itself with the highest number of fatalities in the world, far exceeding other pioneers such as Brazil and India, and is facing a resurgence in cases due to the prominence of the highly contagious delta variant.
While the latest global coronavirus wave peaked in late August, the virus is spreading rapidly, especially in the United States.
The vaccination campaign launched by US officials in December – which peaked in April, with sometimes more than four million injections per day – has meanwhile slowed significantly.
Masking remains a political issue across much of the country, dividing many Americans. Some Republican governors, such as those in Texas and Florida, have sought to ban mandatory masking in their states, citing personal liberties.
The Democratic state of California, on the other hand, announced on Friday that COVID vaccination would be mandatory for all students.
In Washington, hundreds of thousands of white flags were hoisted on the grass on the National Mall, not far from the White House, to commemorate those who died of Covid in the United States.
Nearly 4.8 million people have died worldwide since the outbreak began in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally from official sources.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)