Pedestrians walk across the street on Times Square in New York, the United States, March 24, 2021. The total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States topped 30 million on Wednesday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)
WASHINGTON, March 24 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Wednesday surpassed 30 million COVID-19 cases over a year into the pandemic, highlighting a catastrophic failure resulting from lack of national leadership, disrespect for science and inadequacy of public health infrastructure.
With a total caseload of more than 30 million and over 545,000 deaths, the richest country remains the worst hit by COVID-19 worldwide, showed a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
The country, with a population of less than 5 percent of the world's total, accounted for more than 25 percent of the global COVID-19 count and nearly 20 percent of the worldwide death toll.
The grime milestone came when President Joe Biden, over 60 days in office, are trying hard to reverse the tragic trajectory of the pandemic left over by his predecessor Donald Trump's piecemeal approach.
Biden's team has, among other measures, ramped up vaccinations all over the country.
So far, a third of U.S. adults, around 84 million, have received at least one vaccine dose, and 45 million people have been fully vaccinated, said the White House on Wednesday.
Despite its progress on vaccinations, the virus is still spreading across the country though major indicators have decreased significantly from their peak in January.
The most recent seven-day average of new cases is nearly 55,000 per day and the seven-day average of deaths is approximately 968 per day.
However, public experts warn that new, more contagious variants threaten to upend progress as the B.1.1.7, initially identified in Britain, could become the dominant strain in the United States by the end of March.
"When I'm often asked, 'Are we turning the corner?' my response is really more like, 'We are at the corner. Whether or not we're going to be turning that corner still remains to be seen,'" Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said at the White House briefing.
"You've got to continue to do what we're doing: more vaccinations and continue to do public health measures until we actually do turn the corner," said Fauci.
Stanley Perlman, professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Iowa, agreed.
"Cases may be increasing again. We need to still wear masks and practise social distancing," Perlman told Xinhua on Wednesday, adding the spring break may see an uptick in cases with increased travel.
"This is already a problem. I suspect that we will see a rise in cases but it may be in the young so deaths may not increase much," said Perlman, referring to the uptick in travels during the spring break.
However, at least a dozen states have started to ease COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates and social distancing requirements in businesses. Enditem