US tops 500,000 virus deaths, matching the toll of 3 wars

In this July 31, 2020, file photo, Romelia Navarro, 64, weeps while hugging her husband, Antonio, in his final moments in a COVID-19 unit at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, Calif. The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus topped 300,000 Monday, Dec. 14, just as the country began dispensing COVID-19 shots in a monumental campaign to conquer the outbreak. Photo: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File. In this July 31, 2020, file photo, Romelia Navarro, 64, weeps while hugging her husband, Antonio, in his final moments in a COVID-19 unit at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, Calif. The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus topped 300,000 Monday, Dec. 14, just as the country began dispensing COVID-19 shots in a monumental campaign to conquer the outbreak.

Associated Press
Updated: February 22, 2021 03:56 PM
Created: February 22, 2021 03:52 PM

The COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. topped 500,000 Monday, all but matching the number of Americans killed in World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined.

The lives lost, as recorded by Johns Hopkins University, are about equal to the population of Kansas City, Missouri, and greater than that of Miami; Raleigh, North Carolina; or Omaha, Nebraska.

And despite the rollout of vaccines since mid-December, a closely watched model from the University of Washington projects more than 589,000 dead by June 1.

Follow KSTP's complete COVID-19 coverage 

The U.S. toll is by far the highest reported in the world, and the true numbers are thought to be significantly greater, in part because of the many cases that were overlooked, especially early in the outbreak.

Average daily deaths and cases have plummeted in the past few weeks, but experts warn that dangerous variants could cause the trend to reverse itself.

Some experts say not enough Americans have been inoculated yet for the vaccine to be making much of a difference.

Instead, the drop-off in deaths and cases has been attributed to the passing of the holidays; the cold and bleak days of midwinter, when many people are inclined to stay home; and better adherence to mask rules and social distancing.

The first known deaths from the virus in the U.S. happened in early February 2020. It took four months to reach the first 100,000 dead. The toll hit 200,000 deaths in September and 300,000 in December. Then it took just over a month to go from 300,000 to 400,000 and about two months to climb from 400,000 to the brink of 500,000.

The U.S. recorded an estimated 405,000 deaths in World War II, 58,000 in the Vietnam War and 36,000 in the Korean War.


(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Floyd's cause of death, ex-cop's force will be keys at Chauvin trial

Minnesota Senate committee passes bill that would legalize marijuana flower for medical use

Hundreds gather to protest prior to Chauvin trial

Some Minnesotans traveling out of state to receive vaccine

MDH: 897 new COVID-19 cases, 4 deaths reported Sunday