The United States passed yet another sobering milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic as the number of 2021 coronavirus deaths surpassed the 2020 total.
According to the latest available data from Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. has reached at least 770,691 COVID-19 deaths over the full course fo the pandemic.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the total number of deaths involving COVID-19 in 2020 was 385,343.
That means that at least 385,348 COVID-19 deaths — 15 more than the 2020 total —have so far been recorded in 2021, and that number will only rise in the days and weeks to come.
In June, a Wall Street Journal analysis found that global COVID-19 deaths in 2021 had already surpassed 2020 numbers. The newspaper reported at the time that 1.883 people had died in connection with COVID-19 at that point in 2021, surpassing the global death toll of 1.88 million from 2020.
The grim U.S. milestone comes despite the fact that three COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized in the country, most recently for children as young as 5 years old.
About 69 percent of the U.S. population are at least partially vaccinated, while 59 percent are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
Among that group, Americans aged 65 years and older boast impressively high vaccination rates. Nearly 100 percent of people in that age range are at least partially vaccinated, while 86 percent are fully vaccinated, per CDC data.
While the U.S. started to celebrate a decline of COVID-19 cases in September, those numbers have steadily started trending upward again. Last week, 29 states saw higher COVID-19 counts than the week prior.