US coronavirus death toll approaches milestone of 500,000

NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci addresses the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington US

Americans may still need masks to fight COVID in 2022, says disease expert Anthony Fauci

Wearing a mask to blunt the spread of COVID-19 may remain a part of Americans' routines into 2022 if active case counts remain relatively high even as more people are vaccinated, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday.

"The number was 6 million doses delayed", Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on NBC's "Meet the Press", one of three interviews he did on Sunday talk shows.

After the first Covid-19 death was announced in the United States in February 2020, it took about three months to pass the 100,000 mark, during a first wave that hit NY particularly hard.

Fauci's comments come as the USA fast approaches half a million deaths linked to the pandemic - more losses than what the country suffered in two World Wars and the Vietnam War combined. Then it took just over a month to go from 300,000 to 400,000 and about two months to climb from 400,000 to the brink of 500,000.

Biden will use "his own voice and platform to take a moment to remember the people whose lives have been lost, the families who are still what is still a very hard moment in this country", White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday. She was unable to see him before he died because she, too, had the virus and could not visit.

"They are gone. Your loved one is gone, but you are still alive, " Willis said. "It's like you still have to get up every morning".

"I believe we'll be approaching normalcy by the end of this year and, God-willing, this Christmas will be different than last - but I can't make that commitment to you".

Then came a nightmare scenario of caring for her father-in-law while dealing with grief, arranging funerals, paying bills, helping her children navigate online school and figuring out how to go back to work as an occupational therapist.

Her father-in-law, a Vietnam vet, also contracted the virus.

On Friday, Mr Biden secured a commitment from Pfizer to double the COVID-19 vaccine it produces in the coming weeks, putting his goal to fill the country's inoculation stockpile by summer in sight.

"Some days I feel OK and other days I feel like I'm strong and I can do this", she said. "I think he was quite fortunate", Fauci told the UK's Daily Telegraph. "My whole world is turned upside-down".

"It's something that is stunning when you look at the numbers, nearly unbelievable, but it's true", he added, as the toll on the Johns Hopkins University tracking website stood at some 498,000.

In an interview on NBC's Meet the Press, Dr Fauci said it was too soon to pinpoint when the USA might reach herd immunity.

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