One year to the day since the first diagnosed case of coronavirus in the United States, Joe Biden took office amid a pandemic that has pushed hospital resources to their limits and claimed the lives of approximately 400,000 Americans.
The president in his inaugural address on Wednesday referred to a “deadly virus” that has also claimed millions of jobs and closed businesses and called for a unified response to address what he said “may well to be the most difficult and the deadliest period of the virus ”.
The new administration takes office at a time when competing forces could drive the evolution of the pandemic in any direction. Leaders and public health officials are rushing to keep the vaccine rollout on track and restore public confidence in an effort to mitigate the risks posed by a newly identified and more infectious strain of the disease, as the number of deaths the churches higher.
Since the start of the pandemic in the United States, nearly 24 million Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus, while 392,428 people have died, according to Tuesday data from the Covid Tracking Project. Johns Hopkins University, which uses an alternative methodology, has reported a death toll of more than 400,000.
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States have already attributed more than 53,000 deaths to the coronavirus so far in January, around 24,000 deaths before the December toll, the deadliest month of the pandemic to date. CDC estimates suggest the death toll in the United States from the pandemic could reach 508,000 by February 13.
In his first act as president, Mr Biden called on the crowds on Capitol Hill and at home to join him in a moment of silent prayer to remember those who died last year from the pandemic.
Big numbers highlight the scale of the pandemic in the United States, but recent trends suggest there may be some reprieve from a spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths that may have peaked in early January, in the rest of the holiday season.
The United States has recorded an average of 197,930 cases per day over the past week, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project. Ten days earlier, the United States averaged a record 244,707 cases per day.
The number of people hospitalized with coronavirus was 123,820, according to the latest data from the tracking project. Although this was the lowest level in more than two weeks, healthcare resources across the country were strained by the number of patients being treated.
Deaths tend to lag behind trends in hospitalizations and cases. For the first time this month, the United States has seen the daily death toll from the pandemic exceed 4,000 on multiple occasions. This trend has started to ease in recent days, however, and the United States has recorded an average of 2,997 deaths per day over the past week.
Mr Biden has pledged to vaccinate 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of his tenure and also plans to call on everyone in the country to wear a mask during that time.
In the five weeks since the first vaccines were shipped, about 36 million doses have been distributed to states, but only 14.3 million people have received at least one vaccine so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – well below the Trump administration’s target. to have distributed 20m of jabs by the end of 2020.