Members of the US Congress held a moment of silence on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington on Wednesday to mark the passing of thousands from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, as the US death toll climbed past 800,00 deaths. The majority of those dead from infection were unvaccinated according to reports.
"On this day... we will remember that 800,000 loved ones did not make it this far: a lost father or grandfather, mother or grandmother, a friend, a familiar face in the neighborhood," Democrat and House of Representatives leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
President Joe Biden also issued a statement asking Americans to remember those who had died and resolve to fight the pandemic together.
"As we mark the tragic milestone of 800,000 American deaths due to Covid-19, we remember each person and the lives they lived, and we pray for the loved ones left behind...To heal, we must remember. We must also act," he said. "As we head into the winter and confront a new variant, we must resolve to keep fighting this virus together."
Although the United States of America has vaccinated around 60% of the adult population and is now offering second booster vaccine doses, it still lags behind other developed nations due to vast misinformation campaigns regarding the coronavirus and vaccine skepticism. The risk of dying from Covid-19 was 14 times higher in unvaccinated according to official data published in September.
Around 450,000 of the deaths occurred in 2021, despite highly effective vaccines that were first authorized in December 2020 and widely available by springtime. The US is now discussing the possibility of Another booster dose to combat the Omicron variant of the virus, which, although milder, is more transmissible and may be causing 'breakthrough infections' in the vaccinated.
The country is now into its fifth wave, with the epicenter in colder northern states, as people gather more often indoors.