Nearly 12 months after the first COVID death in the United States was officially announced by the CDC on February 29, 2020, the country has passed another grim milestone. According to data collected by the Johns Hopkins University, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. have died due to COVID-19, a tragic loss commemorated by President Biden with a moment of silence and a candle-lighting ceremony at the White House on Monday. "Today we mark a truly grim, heartbreaking milestone,” Biden said, before asking Americans to “remember those we lost and remember those we left behind.”
As the following chart shows, the U.S. has been hit hardest by the pandemic in terms of total lives lost. With more than half a million people killed, the United States has suffered twice as many deaths as second-placed Brazil, which reported 247,000 COVID deaths as of February 22. Looking at deaths per 100,000 inhabitants yields a slightly different picture, showing that the UK and Italy have been hit even worse than the United States. The U.S. has seen 152 deaths per 100,000 people so far, compared to Italy's 159 and the UK's 181.