Jun 15, 2021 - Health

U.S. COVID-19 death toll surpasses 600,000

U.S. COVID-19 deaths
Data: Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

More than 600,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The big picture: It's a higher death toll than the number of American soldiers killed in combat during the Vietnam War, World War I and World War II combined.

  • It's also greater than the population of Baltimore or Milwaukee, and equal to the number of Americans who died of cancer in 2019, according to AP.
  • The number represents approximately 15% of the world's total coronavirus death toll, which stands at over 3.8 million.

The state of play: The latest grim milestone comes amid signs of optimism about the state of the pandemic in the U.S., where vaccines have helped drive down the seven-day average to about 14,000 new cases and less than 400 deaths per day.

  • Over 51% of Americans 12 and older are now fully vaccinated, and 61% have received at least one dose, according to CDC data.
  • It took nearly four months for the U.S. to go from 500,000 total deaths to 600,000, per JHU. By comparison, the country went from 400,000 to 500,000 deaths in a little over 30 days.

Yes, but: Vaccination rates have also slowed, even as the federal government and states have rolled out dozens of incentive programs to push 70% of American adults to be vaccinated by the Fourth of July.

What they're saying: "We have more work to do to beat this virus. And now is not the time to let our guard down," Biden said during a press conference at the NATO summit in Belgium, as he urged more people to get vaccinated "as soon as possible."

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