Washington, Sep 16 (IANS) As the US’ Covid-19 death toll exceeded 663,000 this week, it meant that roughly 1 in every 500 Americans succumbed to the disease since the onset of the pandemic early last year, a media report said.
“The goal of testing, mask-wearing, keeping six feet apart and limiting gatherings was to slow the spread of the highly infectious virus until a vaccine could stamp it out. The vaccines came but not enough people have been immunised, and the triumph of science waned as mass death and disease remain,” Xinhua news agency quoted The Washington Post report as saying on Wednesday.
As of Thursday morning, the country’s overall death toll stood at 666,615, while the cases have increased to 41,536,813.
“While the Covid death toll overwhelms the imagination, even more stunning is the deadly efficiency with which it has targeted Black, Latino, and American Indian and Alaska Native people in their 30s, 40s and 50s.
“The pandemic has brought into stark relief centuries of entwining social, environmental, economic and political factors that erode the health and shorten the lives of people of colour, putting them at higher risk of the chronic conditions that leave immune systems vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Many of those same factors fuel the misinformation, mistrust and fear that leave too many unprotected.
“Many people don’t have a physician they see regularly due in part to significant provider shortages in communities of colour. If they do have a doctor, it can cost too much money for a visit even if insured.
“There are language barriers for those who don’t speak English fluently and fear of deportation among undocumented immigrants,” the report added.
According to The Washington Post, people older than 85 make up only 2 per cent of the US population, but a quarter of the total death toll.
One in 35 people 85 or older died of Covid-19, compared with 1 in 780 people age 40 to 64.
Death rates for younger groups, 40 to 64 years old, are much lower, but racial inequities grow larger, it said.
In the younger working-age group, 18 to 39 years old, the racial differences are even greater, with Covid-19 killing Blacks and Hispanics more than three times as often as Whites, and Native Americans almost nine times as much, the report added.
Covid-19 deaths and cases in the US have climbed to levels not seen since last winter, wiping out months of progress and potentially bolstering President Joe Biden’s argument for sweeping new vaccination requirements.
Fifty-four per cent of US adults said the worst of the outbreak is still to come, despite widespread vaccination efforts, according to a Pew Research Center report released on Wednesday.