The number of coronavirus deaths in the United States surpassed 500,000 on Monday, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University. The US has by far the highest COVID death toll of any country in the world, with 20% of the nearly 2.5 million global deaths from coronavirus. The half a million Americans who have died from COVID-19 exceeds the US death toll from World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined.
On Monday, church bells at the National Cathedral in Washington rang 500 times to symbolize the 500,000 people who lost their lives to COVID. On the White House steps, 500 candles were lit to commemorate the dead as a military band played a rendition of “Amazing Grace.” President Biden has ordered all flags on federal properties and military facilities to be lowered to half-staff until Friday evening.
Despite the bleak milestone, the number of new cases and deaths in the US has dropped over the past several weeks. On January 21, the seven-day average of US COVID deaths was just over 4,000. On February 21, that average was 1,890, according to the COVID tracking project. The country’s nationwide vaccination campaign, which started in December, has already inoculated a total of 64.2 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But despite the dip in deaths and cases, and mass-vaccination, a model from the University of Washington predicts 90,000 more COVID-related deaths in the US by June.
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