Deaths due to COVID-19 in the United States hit 600,000, equal to yearly cancer toll
Washington, June 15: The death toll in the United States from COVID-19 topped 600,000 on Tuesday, even as the vaccination drive has drastically brought down daily cases and fatalities and allowed the country to emerge from the gloom and look forward to summer.
The number of lives lost, as recorded by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of Baltimore or Milwaukee. It is about equal to the number of Americans who died of cancer in 2019.
Worldwide, the COVID-19 death toll stands at about 3.8 million. The real totals in the US and around the globe are thought to be significantly higher, with many cases overlooked or possibly concealed by some countries.
The milestone came the same day that California, the most populous state and the first to impose a coronavirus lockdown, lifted most of its remaining restrictions and ushered in what has been billed as its "Grand Reopening" just in time for summer.
Gone are state rules on social distancing and limits on capacity at restaurants, bars, supermarkets, gyms, stadiums and other places. Disneyland is throwing open its gates to all tourists after allowing just California residents. Fans will be able to sit elbow-to-elbow and cheer without masks at Dodgers and Giants games.
It took four months to reach the first 100,000 dead. During the most lethal phase of the disaster, in the winter of 2020-21, it took just over a month to go from 300,000 to 400,000 deaths. With the crisis now easing, it took close to four months for the US death toll to go from a half-million to 600,000.