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As Covid-19 cases rise and US death toll tops 1 million, Biden says Americans 'must not grow numb'

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President Joe Biden. Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty Images
President Joe Biden. Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty Images
  • US President Biden urged Americans not to 'grow numb' as the US Covid-19 death toll tops 1 million.
  • "As a nation, we must not grow numb to such sorrow," he said on Thursday, adding that Americans must be "vigilant."
  • Covid-19 cases have been steadily rising across the country since a mid-March lull, fuelled by a spike in the Northeast.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

US President Joe Biden urged Americans on Thursday to remember those lost during the Covid-19 pandemic as the domestic death toll tops 1 million and cases rise across the country. 

"As a nation, we must not grow numb to such sorrow. To heal, we must remember," Biden said in a statement marking the death toll. "I know the pain of that black hole in your heart. It is unrelenting."

He added: "One million empty chairs around the dinner table. Each an irreplaceable loss. Each leaving behind a family, a community, and a nation forever changed because of this pandemic."

With a steady uptick in Covid-19 cases across the country, Biden urged Americans to remain "vigilant" against the pandemic and called on Congress to ensure access to vaccines, treatments, and testing. 

According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US is averaging just under 80,000 new Covid-19 cases each day, fuelled by spikes in the Northeast caused by an infectious Omicron subvariant.

The number of new cases has been steadily increasing since late-March. 

Despite the rising case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths have remained comparatively low. States across the US have rolled back Covid-19-related restrictions, citing the low hospitalisation rates. And mask mandates — including a requirement for airline passengers — have also fallen in recent weeks.

The US is averaging around 326 new daily deaths, according to the data — down from a peak of 2,700 in early February. 

Official Covid-19 death tolls and case counts may also fail to show the true scale of the destruction caused by the virus, as many instances go unreported. 

The World Health Organization estimated last week that 15 million people died globally from Covid-19 and its impact on global health systems in 2020 and 2021. 

That figure is around 2.7 times higher than the 5.4 million deaths reported by world governments to the WHO during the same period.

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