Feb. 5 (UPI) — President Joe Biden on Friday urged Americans to get COVID-19 booster shots as the United States reached 900,000 coronavirus deaths.
“Today, our nation marks another tragic milestone — 900,000 American lives have been lost to COVID-19. They were beloved mothers and fathers, grandparents, children, brothers and sisters, neighbors, and friends. Each soul is irreplaceable,” Biden said in a statement.
“After nearly two years, I know that the emotional, physical, and psychological weight of this pandemic has been incredibly difficult to bear. I know what it’s like to stare at an empty chair around the kitchen table.”
Biden said that the U.S. has saved more than one million lives as a result of vaccinations.
“We can save even more lives — and spare countless families from the deepest pain imaginable — if everybody does their part,” Biden said.
Data from the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention show that coronavirus deaths reached a seven-day moving average of 2,371 on Thursday, their highest rate since February 13, 2021, even as infection rates have started dropping.
The rise of coronavirus deaths comes after the winter surge of the Omicron variant, which spread quickly across the country and dramatically increased the number of infections.
The decrease in the severity of illness from the Omicron variant has been attributed to the persistence of vaccination.
More than 212.4 million people, or about 64% of the population, are considered fully vaccinated, while 89.3 million, or 42% of the population, have received a booster dose.