More than 500,000 people have now died from Covid-19 in the US, just over a year after the country detected its first cases of a virus which has wrought almost unprecedented loss.

Iran PressAmerica: Deaths breached half a million on Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, bringing the total to 500,071.

More than 28 million people have also tested positive for coronavirus in the US.

Both numbers are the worst in the world and the pandemic has thrown a harsh spotlight on the US ability to cope with such a disaster, especially during the tumultuous tenure of Donald Trump, whose administration botched the government response.

After a devastating winter surge in cases, for the first time in months, the average number of daily new coronavirus cases in the US fell below 100,000 on 12 February. Even with the decrease in cases, the US is still experiencing 1,500 to 3,500 deaths a day and public health officials have warned recent progress could easily reverse.

The biggest threat is the new variants of the virus, which appear to spread more quickly and easily. Scientists are working to understand how these variants could change the effectiveness of vaccines as the US attempts to ramp up the scale of its inoculation distribution.

Only about 13% of the US population, or 43 million people, have received their first dose of the vaccine.

To avoid another spike in cases, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky, said mask-wearing guidelines must remain in place and people must continue to use physical distancing to stop the virus’s spread.

Covid-19 deaths, hospitalizations, and cases have disproportionately affected Black, Latino and Indigenous people. American Indian or Alaska Native people have died at 2.4 times the rate of white people, Black people at 1.9 times the rate, and Latino people at 2.3 times the rate, according to the CDC.