The U.S. Is About to Hit 500,000 Confirmed COVID-19 Deaths

The U.S. may have fewer coronavirus cases than in recent weeks, but the situation is still grim: The country is expected to hit 500,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths today, just a month after it counted 400,000.

As of this writing, there have been 499,902 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., according to data from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine. That death toll is expected to cross over the 500,000 mark today. These numbers only reflect confirmed COVID-19 deaths, so the actual number of deaths is likely even higher, SELF reported previously. These numbers also don’t reflect the excess deaths over the past year that were not directly due to COVID-19 but still occurred as a result of the pandemic, including people who couldn’t access or delayed crucial medical care. 

The University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimates there will be another 89,000 deaths due to COVID-19 by June 1. The researchers estimate that, with universal mask wearing, that additional death toll would be about 70,000.

Since the pandemic began about a year ago, there have been 111,500,000 cases and just over 2,469,000 deaths worldwide, the Johns Hopkins data shows. The U.S. has recorded the most coronavirus cases compared to any other country, with more than 28 million so far. The U.S. is seeing about 7,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations and 2,700 deaths per day, according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

But there are some indications that the situation is improving in the U.S. Coronavirus cases are, in fact, going down in the country, as SELF explained previously. Experts say this trend is probably due to multiple factors, including individuals wearing masks and reducing travel, as well as larger societal efforts, such as lockdowns and making vaccines available. Vaccinations are ramping up—there have been about 57.7 million vaccinations given so far, according to CDC data—but they are unlikely to be a major force behind the reduction in cases right now because that number only accounts for a small percentage of the population.

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Things may be starting to look up, but that doesn’t change the tremendous loss of life we’ve already experienced due to the virus. President Biden will mark today’s grim milestone with a moment of silence and candle-lighting ceremony on Monday evening, NPR reports


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