US COVID deaths hit 600,000, equal to yearly cancer toll

The U.S. death toll 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 U.S. 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.