MUQDISHO-AYAAMAHA-The United States on Sunday reached 800,000 coronavirus-related deaths, according to a Reuters tally, as the nation braces for a potential surge in infections due to more time spent indoors with colder weather and the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the virus.
The milestone means the U.S. death toll from this one virus now exceeds the entire population of North Dakota.
Even with vaccines widely and freely available, the country has lost more lives to the virus this year than in 2020 due to the more contagious Delta variant and people refusing to get inoculated against COVID-19.
Since the start of the year, over 450,000 people in the United States have died after contracting COVID-19, or 57% of all U.S. deaths from the illness since the pandemic started.
The deaths this year were mostly in unvaccinated patients, health experts say. Deaths have increased despite advances in caring for COVID patients and new treatment options such as monoclonal antibodies.
It took 111 days for U.S. deaths to jump from 600,000 to 700,000, according to Reuters analysis. The next 100,000 deaths took just 73 days.
Other countries have lost far fewer lives per capita in the past 11 months, according to the Reuters analysis.
Among the Group of Seven (G7) wealthiest nations, the United States ranks the worst in terms of per capita deaths from COVID-19 between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, according to the Reuters analysis.
The death rate in the United States was more than three times higher than in neighboring Canada and 11 times more than Japan.
Even when the United States is compared with a larger pool of wealthy countries with access to vaccines, it ranks near the bottom. Among the 38 members of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States ranks 30th. Only Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia Colombia, Poland and Slovenia had more COVID-19 deaths per capita. New Zealand had the least.