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Expand chart
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."

Go deeper

Mormon Church to mandate masks in temples

The San Diego California Temple in La Jolla, California. Photo: RBL/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told its members on Wednesday that all patrons and workers will be required to wear face masks at all times while in the temple.

Why it matters: It's the Mormon Church's latest effort to encourage masking and vaccination among its over 16.6 million members around the world.

D.C. school employees required to get vaccinated

Photo: Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Getty Images

All D.C. school and daycare employees — public, private, and charter — must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1 with no option to test out, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced today.

  • Student athletes over the age of 12 will also be required to get vaccinated in order to participate in after-school programs, the mandate says. 

United Airlines says 97% of U.S. employees fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Photo: James D. Morgan via Getty Images

United Airlines said Wednesday that over 97% of its U.S.-based employees are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a company memo obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: United announced in August that it would require its 67,000 U.S.-based employees to get vaccinated by Sept. 27 or face termination. It's one of several airlines that set vaccine requirements even before President Biden issued his own vaccine mandate for employers with over 100 workers.