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U.S. covid-19 death toll reaches 800,000 as omicron variant poses latest threat

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said "vaccines alone will not get any country out of this crisis" during a news conference on Dec. 14. (Video: Reuters)
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The United States on Tuesday surpassed 800,000 deaths from the coronavirus as the pandemic approaches the end of a second year.

The toll, nearly the population of San Francisco, comes as more than 50 million coronavirus cases have been identified in the nation since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center. The country reached the milestone as the omicron variant has gained ground, intensifying calls for vaccinated people to get booster shots, with disease trackers fearing the new variant will spawn a wave of illness atop the outbreaks blamed on the delta variant.

After the news of the 800,000 figure, President Biden shared his grief for the lives lost and an insistence on vaccinating the country.

“I urge all Americans: do your patriotic duty to keep our country safe, to protect yourself and those around you, and to honor the memory of all those we have lost,” he said in a statement. “Now is the time.”

Here’s what to know

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