The number of Americans who have died of COVID-19 during President Joe Biden’s time in office now equals the death toll under former President Donald Trump. The United States reached the staggering, near-incomprehensible milestone of 800,000 Americans killed by the coronavirus Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University—double the 400,000 deaths recorded by Jan. 19, Trump’s last full day in office. The former president oversaw the initial, haphazard response to COVID-19, whereas by the time the current commander-in-chief was sworn in, the respiratory virus had become widespread. Despite lifesaving vaccines and a pledge from Biden to achieve “independence from the virus” by July 4, the country has struggled with vaccine hesitancy, surges brought on by the more contagious and severe Delta variant, and a patchwork response that has varied by state. Researchers have found in multiple studies that the U.S. could have prevented hundreds of thousands of deaths with a better response to COVID-19. With the emergence of the Omicron variant, experts believe the pandemic is far from over.
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