Covid claims 500,000 American lives | First Thing

Good morning.

More than 500,000 people in the US have now died from coronavirus, just over a year since the country detected its first case. That is more than the population of Miami, Colorado Springs or Minneapolis. It’s also more than the number of Americans who died in the second world war, Korea and Vietnam. In a primetime address to the nation last night, Joe Biden urged people “to resist becoming numb to the sorrow”, before a holding a moment of silence and candle lighting ceremony at the White House.

It’s not Democrats or Republicans who are dying from the virus. It’s our fellow Americans, it’s our neighbors. It’s our friends, our mothers, our fathers, our daughters, husbands, wives. We have to fight this together as one people, as the United States of America.

For each of the more than 500,000 American lives lost to coronavirus, there is a “bereavement multiplier”, a network of relatives who are left to cope with the loss. A recent study found that for each Covid-19 death, around nine close family members are left grieving totalling more than 4.5 million people – and the study doesn’t account for the huge volumes of friends left grieving. Michael Sainto spoke to one family who lost a father and brother to Covid-19 within 24 hours.

According to an investigation by the Guardian and KHN, 3,448 healthcare workers in the US are thought to have died from the virus as they put their lives on the line to care for others. But historian Andrew Gawthorpe argues that the high death toll was preventable, and spiralled because the “Republican response has been based on a characteristically narrow definition of which Americans are worthy of saving”.

  • China did “little” to investigate the origins of coronavirus in the first eight months of the pandemic, according to an internal World Health Organization document seen by the Guardian. The document, dated August 2020, also said that the WHO team received little new information, including no documents or written data, during an investigation at that time.

  • A skateboarding world champion has been charged after hosting large parities during the pandemic, which were possible super-spreader events. Nyjah Huston repeatedly organised parties in southern California as Covid rates soared, leading authorities to cut off water and power to the house.

The supreme court has allowed prosecutors to see Trump’s tax returns

The supreme court rejected the former president’s bid to block his tax records from prosecutors.
The supreme court rejected the former president’s bid to block his tax records from prosecutors. Photograph: Gerald Herbert/AP

The supreme court has declined to stop Donald Trump’s tax returns being handed over to a prosecutor in New York City, marking a significant defeat for the former president who has long sought to keep them hidden. When he ran for president in 2016, Trump broke with tradition and refused to release his tax returns. Now he has left the White House, Trump has lost the legal protections of being in office, and is being investigated on a number of fronts.

The former president is on a losing streak, writes Washington Bureau chief David Smith, but this could be his costliest defeat yet. The Manhattan district attorney’s office won’t release the tax returns publicly and hasn’t said why it wants them, only that they were justified in seeking them because of of public reports of “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization”.

  • Trump won Texas because of Covid and a Republican voter drive, a postmortem of the state’s result presidential election from state Democrats has found. They found that Republicans turned out in greater numbers, and Democratic party get-out-the-vote efforts were limited by the pandemic.

Nasa has released a video of its rover landing on Mars

Footage of Perseverance rover landing on Mars released by Nasa – video

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Footage of Perseverance rover landing on Mars released by Nasa – video

Nasa has released a video of its space rover Perseverance landing on Mars, and the first audio recorded on the surface of the red planet. The video was shared days after the spacecraft descended on to the Martian surface, after travelling through space for nearly seven months.

Scientists have given Perseverance – nicknamed Percy – 5,000 instructions to investigate on Mars, and it completed them all with flying colours. The rover, whi

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Redak staff

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