The coronavirus pandemic reached a grim new milestone in the United States on Friday with the nation's cumulative death toll from Covid-19 surpassing 900,000, even as the daily number of lives lost has begun to level off, according to data collected by Reuters.
The latest tally marks an increase of more than 100,000 US Covid-19 fatalities since 12 December, coinciding with a surge of infections and hospitalizations driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant of the virus.
Preliminary evidence has shown that Omicron, while far more infectious, generally causes less severe illness than earlier iterations of the virus, such as Delta. But the sheer volume of Omicron cases fueled a surge in hospitalizations that has strained many US healthcare systems to their limits in recent weeks.
Experts have said the bulk of Omicron patients requiring hospitalization were unvaccinated individuals and people with other underlying chronic health conditions.
Data also suggests that Omicron may have hit the United States harder than other countries with younger overall populations, such as in Africa.