US COVID death toll surpasses 900,000, sped by Omicron
The US has the highest reported coronavirus death toll of any country in the world, and even then, the actual number of lives lost directly or indirectly to COVID-19 is thought to be significantly higher.
Experts believe some COVID-19 deaths have been misattributed to other conditions, while some Americans are thought to have died of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes because they were unable or unwilling to obtain treatment during the crisis.
“We have underestimated our enemy here, and we have under-prepared to protect ourselves,” said Dr Joshua M Sharfstein, a public health professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
As COVID-19 has become one of the top three causes of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer, health experts are raising frustrations that US policymakers are seemingly running out of ideas for getting people vaccinated.
Only 64 percent of Americans, or about 212 million people, are fully vaccinated, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The latest 100,000 deaths encompass those caused by both the Delta and Omicron variants, the latter of which began spreading rapidly in December and quickly became the predominant strain in the US.
While Omicron has proved less likely to cause severe illness than Delta, the greater number of people who became infected with Omicron contributed to the high number of deaths.