Horror front page shows dire US crisis

The front page of The New York Times has revealed the horrific human cost of the coronavirus pandemic on the USA.

A simple, yet powerful image spanning almost the entire page shows dots to represent a life lost to coronavirus.

There are nearly 500,000 dots on the page — meaning more Americans have perished from COVID-19 than on the battlefields of World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined.

“Each death has left untold numbers of mourners, a ripple effect of loss that has swept over towns and cities. Each death has left an empty space in communities across America: a bar stool where a regular used to sit, one side of a bed unslept in, a home kitchen without its cook,” the newspaper read.

“The living find themselves amid vacant places once occupied by their spouses, parents, neighbours and friends – the nearly 500,000 coronavirus dead.”

Another 91,000 Americans are projected to die from the disease by June 1, according to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation – and there is further concern over the spread of new mutations.

“It’s terrible. It is historic. We haven’t seen anything even close to this for well over 100 years, since the 1918 pandemic of influenza,” Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to US President Joe Biden, said on NBC’s Meet The Press.

“It’s something that is stunning when you look at the numbers, almost unbelievable, but it’s true.”

The US death toll on the Johns Hopkins University tracking website currently stands at 498,384.

There is however hope for Americans as COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations continue to plummet and the nation’s vaccination effort picks up pace.

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So far, more than 42.8 million Americans have received at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to CDC data.

More than 17.8 million people have been fully vaccinated. That’s about 5.5 per cent of the US population.

In recent weeks, some state and local leaders have chosen to loosen restrictions.

After the first COVID-19 death in the US was announced in February 2020 it took about three months to pass the 100,000 mark, during a first wave that hit New York particularly hard.

But as the outbreak grew in the United States the pace of deaths increased, with the toll hitting 400,000 last month amid a spike fuelled in part by holiday gatherings.

Dr Fauci noted that the number of daily new infections was on a steep decline after peaking in January, but he added normal life may still be some way off.

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“I think we’ll have a significant degree of normality … by the end of the year,” Dr Fauci said in an appearance on CNN’s State Of The Union.

Mr Biden said last week the program to administer vaccines is as complicated as the already intense challenges of manufacturing them in huge quantities at speed.

“There has never, ever, ever been a logistic challenge as consequential as what we’re trying to do, but we’re getting it done,” he said.

According to Mr Biden, his goal of administering a million shots a day for a total of 100 million in the first 100 days of his presidency is on track to be easily surpassed, with a current average of 1.7 million vaccinations a day.

With the US death toll set soon to pass 500,000, Mr Biden said he did not want to give firm predictions of when the crisis will be curbed.

However, he said that 600 million doses – enough to provide the two-dose regimen to most of the country – were expected to be ready by the end of July.

– with AFP

Originally published as Horror front page shows dire US crisis