US COVID-19 death toll hits 800,000

More than 800,000 Americans have now died from the coronavirus – another grim pandemic milestone reached Tuesday as the country remains on edge over the new Omicron variant.

The mark coincides with the end of a year that began in the US with a COVID-19 death toll of about 350,000.

Over the same period of time the country has also experienced a roller coaster of emotions as optimism reigned with the rollout of vaccines, but fear lingered with the emergence of the Delta and Omicron variants.

Many communities lifted mask mandates last spring when the number of cases dropped, only to reinstate them when the numbers ticked up again.

As of Tuesday, 60.5 percent of the people in the US were fully vaccinated against the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many Americans, however, have remained hesitant to get the jab for a number of reasons, including government mistrust. Chris Burnett, a beloved 34-year-old high school football coach and father of four fit that category.

Burnett chose not to get the jab and caught the virus after one his children got infected at a family sleepover. 

After nearly two weeks on a ventilator, Burnett died on Sept. 11. 

“He was a part of the group that … just didn’t trust it,” his mother, Carolyn Burnett, told the Associated Press.

“They didn’t want to be a guinea pig. They didn’t want to be experimented on,” she said.

With Post wires