The death toll from Covid-19 during the presidency of Joe Biden will soon overtake the number of people who died from the illness while Donald Trump was in the White House.
The number of dead Americans from Covid-19 had surpassed 846,000 on Friday. During Mr Trump’s last 10 months in office, 425,000 people died from Covid-19. During Mr Biden’s leadership, 421,000 people have died.
Comparatively, 353,000 people died during Mr Biden’s first 10 months as president. However, vaccines were already starting to be rolled out as Mr Biden ascended to the presidency.
The US is seeing around 2,000 deaths a day, making it likely that the death toll under Mr Biden will surpass that under Mr Trump in the coming days.
But compared to the rest of the world, the US appears to be handling the pandemic better under Mr Biden than under Mr Trump. Johns Hopkins University data show that the 425,000 deaths during Mr Trump’s final 10 months in office made up 20 per cent of deaths globally.
Since Mr Biden took over, the number of deaths around the world during his first 10 months, 3.07m, is higher than during Mr Trump’s final 10 months, when 2.14m people died globally. US deaths during Mr Biden first ten months in office accounted for 12 per cent of all world deaths.
“All aspects of Covid” have become political problems for Mr Biden, Democratic strategist Michael Gordon told Newsweek.
“If somehow we can get it under control, then the president will be seen to keep his promise and will reap the political benefits. But if next November we’re still living under a cloud of Covid, then we can add it to the list of reasons why the Democrats will get shellacked in the midterms,” Mr Gordon said.
“From day one, Donald Trump downplayed the threat COVID-19 posed, ignored scientists, and refused to take action,” Mr Biden tweeted in the summer of 2020. “Now, nearly 5 million cases and more than 150,000 deaths later, it’s crystal clear we’re paying the price for his failed leadership.”
Mr Biden has signed executive orders mandating that face masks be worn on federal property and that federal employees be vaccinated. He also ordered companies with more than 100 employees to institute vaccine mandates – an order that was struck down by the Supreme Court on Thursday.
More than 24m people had been infected with Covid-19 in the US when Mr Trump left Washington DC. During Mr Biden’s time in the White House, that figure has more than doubled – more than 64m cases have now been recorded as hospitals across the country continue to be overwhelmed by the virus.
As the highly transmissible, but seemingly milder Omicron variant of the virus spreads across the US, the Biden administration recently announced that 500m Covid tests will be distributed to American homes from January and onwards.
The government has also ordered 20m doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 pill, a new treatment the administration hopes can keep some of those infected with the illness out of hospitals. But the majority of the pills won’t be available for use until June.
NPR reported last month that people living in counties where support for Mr Trump in the 2020 election was high have been three times more likely to die from the virus since May of last year compared to people living in counties won by Mr Biden. Misinformation is behind a large share of the deaths, according to the public radio analysis.
“I know we’re all frustrated as we enter this new year,” Mr Biden said on Thursday. “The Omicron variant is causing millions of cases and record hospitalizations.”
“I’ve been saying that, as we remain in this pandemic, this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” he added. “Right now, both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are testing positive, but what happens after that could not be more different.”
“If vaccinated people test positive, they overwhelmingly have either no symptoms at all or they have mild symptoms,” the president said.
He added that if you’re unvaccinated and you test positive “you are 17 times more likely to get hospitalised”.
“As a result, they’re crowding our hospitals, leaving little room for anyone else who might have a heart attack or an injury in an automobile accident or any injury at all,” Mr Biden said.