The United States, the country hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, surpassed 800,000 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University showed.

Iran PressAmerica: The US death toll from Covid-19 has passed 800,000, a once-unimaginable figure seen as doubly tragic given that more than 200,000 of those lives were lost after vaccines became available last spring.

The figure represents the highest reported toll of any country in the world and is likely even higher.

The US accounts for approximately 4% of the world’s population but about 15% of the 5.3 million known deaths from the coronavirus since the outbreak began in China two years ago.

The grim milestone comes as the world braces for rise in cases of the new Omicron variant, with the World Health Organization (WHO) warning it was spreading at an unprecedented rate.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Tuesday the variant had been detected in 77 countries and was probably present in most countries worldwide. 219