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1 in every 500 U.S. residents has died of COVID-19

This week, the United States reached its latest grim milestone amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as more than 1 in every 500 Americans has died since the country’s first infection.

Data managed by Johns Hopkins University as of Thursday afternoon indicates nearly 667,000 people have died from COVID-19. The U.S. Census Bureau said the nation’s population was 331.4 million as of 2020.

The sobering statistic comes amid the latest wave of new coronavirus cases and deaths in the U.S., Centers for Disease Control Prevention data shows.

The country has averaged more than 1,000 deaths daily since late August, according to the data, after rising insidiously earlier this summer.

The Washington Post reports that the numbers reveal stark racial inequalities when assessing deaths among people aged 40 to 64: COVID-19 has killed just 1 in 1,300 white people, but has taken down 1 in 480 Black people, 1 in 390 Hispanic people, and 1 in 240 Native American people—making the death rate for Native Americans in that age group five times higher than the rate for the white population.

In people aged 18 to 39, the racial disparity is even starker, with coronavirus claiming Black and Hispanic lives at rates more than three times higher than in white people, and Native American lives at a rate more than nine times higher.

The latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says that 63.2 percent of everyone eligible for vaccination (people aged 12 and up) have gotten all of their shots. While state and federal governments are considering vaccine mandates, the issue is already causing division.

New York tried to pass a vaccine mandate for medical workers, but the movement was blocked by a federal judge after a group of health workers sued, saying the mandate would violate their religious rights, AP News reported. A hearing is scheduled for September 28.

The country surpassed the 500,000 deaths mark earlier this year and at this rate is projected to reach near 800,000 by year’s end.

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