Dr. Anthony Fauci waits to testify before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Washington, DC, June 23, 2020 (Kevin Dietsch/Reuters)

As US Coronavirus deaths pass 500,000 on Monday, the Government’s top expert Dr. Anthony Fauci laments the “terribly historic milestone”.

Speaking on Sunday political programs, Fauci said with emotion:

It’s terrible. It’s really horrible. It is something that is historic. It’s nothing like we’ve ever been through in the last 102 years, since the 1918 influenza pandemic….

Decades from now….[we will be] talking about this a terribly historic milestone in the history of this country. To have these many people to have died from a respiratory born infection, it really is a terrible situation that we’ve been through and that we’re still going through.

The US death toll reached 498,897 on Sunday, with 1,247 fatalities in 24 hours. Confirmed cases are 28,134,123, a rise of 55,195.

Fauci and other medical and public health experts were ostracized during the Trump Administration, over their matter-of-fact assessments of the Coronavirus threat. Fauci was assailed as a “disaster” by Donald Trump and his officials, who turned to the unqualified Dr. Scott Atlas for the promotion of “herd immunity” and a spread of the virus.

President Joe Biden immediately turned to Fauci, naming him as his chief medical advisor, as the Administration pursued a series of steps to contain the damage under its predecessor.

See also Coronavirus — Biden Pledges 600 Million Vaccine Doses, Acts Over Mortgages and Foreclosures

Daily deaths have declined sharply from a record high of 4,103 on January 27 to a 7-day average of 1,904 last week. However, the US is still 7th in the world in per capita deaths, with almost 1,500 per million residents.

The Administration is focused on a surge of vaccinations, with 1.32 million administered per day last week. A total of 61 million doses now administered, with more than 13% of Americans receiving a first jab and almost 5.5% fully covered.

Biden announced last week that 600 million doses will be obtained by the end of July, sufficient to cover every adult American.

The President as also introduced containment measures such as a mask mandate on Federal property, and the Administration hopes for passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan next month.

Fauci cautioned that despite mass vaccinations, wearing of masks might still be needed into 2022 until the rollout had reached the point of “minimal, minimal threat” of transmission.

However, he added, “I think we’ll have a significant degree of normality beyond the terrible burden that all of us have been through over the last year.”