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Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than half a million people in the U.S. have died from the coronavirus as of Monday, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Why it matters: The death toll is larger than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in action in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined. It comes just one year after the country's first coronavirus death was confirmed.

  • "Each death has left an empty space in communities across America: a bar stool where a regular used to sit, one side of a bed unslept in, a home kitchen without its cook," the New York Times' Julie Bosman writes.

The scale of the horrifying loss is hard to visualize.

  • If 500,000 names were listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the height of the structure would be 87 feet tall (instead of 10 feet), the Washington Post figures.
  • 1 person died of the coronavirus every 28 seconds in January, a Post analysis found.

What they're saying: “You see on the news, ‘X amount of people died,’ but it’s so much more than that,” Priscilla Morse, whose 6-year-old daughter died in August, told the Post.

  • "Do people see just how destroyed your family and your life is, six months later? Half-a-million families who’ve had their world torn apart?”
  • Sabila Khan, who lost her father last April, told NPR: "Every day is a milestone for me. These round numbers don't really mean anything to me. Every day is just as shocking."

Where it stands: Weekly vaccinations have risen as cases and hospitalizations are slowing significantly, even with the spread of new highly-transmissible variants. Deaths have been declining for two weeks, per the COVID Tracking Project.

  • NIAID director Anthony Fauci celebrated the steep decline as "really terrific" on Sunday, although he noted that the "baseline of daily infections is still very, very high."
  • A shipment of 6 million vaccines was delayed last week due to historic winter storms that ravaged Texas and froze much of Central U.S. Fauci described it as a "temporary setback" on Sunday and said 2 million delayed vaccines had been shipped.

Honoring the deceased: Flags will be lowered to half-staff on federal properties for five days, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday.

Go deeper

Biden on COVID deaths milestone: "We have to resist becoming numb"

President Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and first gentleman Douglas Emhoff at the White House ceremony. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden urged Americans to "remember those we lost and remember those we left behind" in a candle-lighting ceremony Monday — noting the "grim milestone" of the U.S. surpassing 500,000 COVID-19 deaths.

Details: "As a nation, we can't accept such a cruel fate. We have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow," the president said, calling on the U.S. to fight the coronavirus together.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

  1. Health: CDC expects new COVID surge starting this month — U.S. fertility dips to its lowest rate since the 1970s.
  2. Politics: Federal judge overturns CDC's eviction moratorium — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants — U.S. will support waiving vaccine patentsPfizer to offer smaller shipments.
  4. Economy: U.S. may have added more than 2 million jobs in April — A surge in youth unemployment.
  5. World: U.S. could fill "vaccine diplomacy" void as other powers struggle — The countries facing massive COVID surges.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Feb 22, 2021 - Health

Boris Johnson unveils roadmap to fully reopen England's economy by June 21

Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a four-step roadmap on Monday to "remove all legal limits on social contacts" in England by no earlier than June 21, assuming certain tests are met.

Why it matters: The U.K. has the worst coronavirus death toll in Europe and saw its economy contract by 9.9% in 2020 — the biggest drop in output in more than 300 years.