The United States has passed one million COVID-related deaths, the White House has said.
The country, with a population of 329.5 million, has recorded more than 80 million coronavirus cases and has the highest number of reported deaths in the world so far.
President Joe Biden called it a “tragic milestone” and urged Americans to remain “vigilant in the face of this pandemic.”
He told those in mourning: “I know the pain of that black hole in your heart. It is relentless.
“But I also know that the ones you love never really left. They will always be with you.”
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About 220 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, but COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, though deaths are falling.
Mr Biden added: “We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lives as possible, as we have done with more tests, vaccines and treatments than ever before.
“In remembrance, let’s draw strength from each other as fellow Americans. For though we’ve been humble, we never give up.”
The virus claimed 36 lives in the United States before the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic in March 2020.
Since then, the country has seen several spikes as new variants have taken hold, with California, Texas and Florida among the hardest hit states.
Brazil (664,000) and India (524,000) have the second highest number of deaths behind the United States. Around 176,000 people have died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive since the start of the pandemic.
The WHO estimates that the pandemic has caused about 15 million deaths worldwide due to a “significant undercount of the total number of deaths directly and indirectly attributed to COVID-19”, although the officially reported number is around six million.
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