U.S. not ‘out of the woods’ as nation tops 500,000 COVID-19 deaths

Nearly a year after the coronavirus pandemic upended the U.S. with dueling public health and economic crises, the country is now facing a dark milestone as the death toll from COVID-19 in the country topped 500,000 on February 21.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House COVID-19 medical adviser and the nation’s top infectious disease official said Americans may still need masks in 2022 even as other measures to stop the virus’ spread are increasingly relaxed and more vaccines are administered, and they may need a booster shot depending on how variants emerge.

More than 28 million COVID cases have rocked the US, even as daily average deaths and hospitalizations have fallen to the lowest levels since before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

The virus took a full year off the average life expectancy in the US, the biggest decline since World War Two. Less than 15 percent of Americans have received at least one vaccine dose.

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