US Marks Dark Milestone as COVID-19 Deaths Surpass 700,000
The US is marking a milestone it hoped to never see as COVID-19 related deaths passed 700,000 on Friday, October 1. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the US has now recorded 700,329 COVID-related deaths, with 52,185 those registered in the last 28 days alone.
The US has reported more than 43.6 million COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, despite being the richest country on earth and spending the most per-capita on health. The US epidemic has highlighted vast disparities in the country’s privatized health care system where healthcare coverage has actually declined amid the pandemic.
Despite the US having the largest availability of vaccines globally, politically-driven vaccine hesitancy has continued to present a significant challenge to the country’s vaccination targets. Political and religious leaders have repeatedly cast doubt on the vaccination process, often linked to the political leaders in charge of the program.
While much of the world suffers from a vaccine supply shortage, the US and many other Western countries face an issue with demand. Despite having millions of vaccines available, many remain skeptical of the vaccine for a variety of reasons. The worrying slowdown in vaccinations prompted US President Joe Biden to introduce controversial vaccine mandates.
US media have recently blamed Republican partisans for the continuing vaccine hesitancy, going as far as labelling the current wave as “red covid,” a reference to the color of the Republican party.
Renowned journalist Glenn Greenwald has cast doubt over this assertion, highlighting vast unreported ethnic disparities in what he describes as a “liberal-pleasing narrative that COVID has become a partisan disease.”