U.S. Hits 400,000 Covid Deaths as Biden Pledges to Boost Fight

The U.S. has recorded 400,000 Covid-19 deaths, a sobering milestone that comes as the nation prepares to inaugurate a new president who has pledged to speed up vaccine delivery and promote protective measures like mask-wearing as a patriotic duty.

With more than 24 million Covid-19 infections, the U.S. has been the world leader in cases and deaths, contributing about a fifth of the more than 2 million fatalitiesreported globally. India and Brazil are next in line.

Meanwhile, a more contagious variant of the virus is spreading among Americans andcould become dominant by March, federal health officials have said, opening new concerns about Covid-19 outracing efforts to control it.

President-elect Joe Biden, who will be sworn into office on Wednesday, has said beating the virus is his top priority. He’s scheduled to attend an event to remember victims of the coronavirus Tuesday at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

Biden has stressed that measures such as masking and social distancing are essential to control further spread, and said he’ll mandate their use wherever he can. He’s also announced plans to spend more than $400 billion to fight the pandemic and boost distribution of shots from thePfizer Inc.–BioNTech SE partnership andModerna Inc.

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