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US Covid-19 death toll passes 400,000 on Trump’s last day in office

Oliver O'Connell
·2-min read
The “field of flags” on the National Mall ahead of Joe Biden’s swearing-in inauguration ceremony as the 46th US president (AFP via Getty Images)
The “field of flags” on the National Mall ahead of Joe Biden’s swearing-in inauguration ceremony as the 46th US president (AFP via Getty Images)

The US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has passed 400,000 according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

There have now been 24.2 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 across the nation since the virus began to spread in February 2020.

The grim milestone was passed on the final day of the Trump administration and just over a month after the death toll hit 300,000.

It is expected that half a million people will have died from the virus by some point in mid-February.

President-elect Joe Biden will take the oath of office at midday on Wednesday and has readied a series of initiatives to try and thwart the spread of Covid-19.

Mr Biden intends to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office with the help of the National Guard and FEMA. He also plans to institute a federal mask mandate for interstate travel and public buildings.

An inauguration event scheduled for Tuesday evening at the Reflecting Pool of the Lincoln Memorial is billed as a memorial service for the Americans who have died from coronavirus. It will feature the first-ever lighting of the pool.

The transition team has invited cities and towns across the country to illuminate buildings and ring church bells in memory of the victims of the virus. Individuals are encouraged to get involved by placing a lit candle in a window at 5.30pm ET in a moment of national remembrance.

Watch: Former senior Obama advisor discusses the Inauguration of Joe Biden

The new president has also detailed a $1.9 trillion spending plan to tackle the economic impact of the pandemic.

Detailed in a speech last week, Mr Biden’s plan includes $1,400 cheques for most Americans, $400bn to directly combat the virus, accelerate vaccinations and reopen schools, and $350bn to help state and local governments cover budget gaps and fund essential services.

The plan has an extra $160bn for a national vaccine programme, including $20bn for distribution and $50bn for increased testing.

A troubled rollout of vaccines has seen the mayor of New York warn that the city could run out of vaccine doses by Thursday, meaning appointments may have to be cancelled while they await new supplies.

“As of yesterday, we were vaccinating New Yorkers at the rate of three New Yorkers per second,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN on Monday. “The fact is we plan this week to do hundreds of thousands of doses … we need a massive re-supply."

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has asked if the state can purchase doses direct from Pfizer and bypass the federal government.

Worldwide there have been 95.9 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 2.05 million officially recorded deaths.

Watch: Trump Administration begins moving out of the White House

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