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.
The U.S. toll is by far the highest reported in the world, accounting for 20 percent of the nearly 2.5 million coronavirus deaths globally, though 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. Virus deaths have fallen from more than 4,000 reported on some days in January to an average of fewer than 1,900 per day. 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.
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.
Across Wisconsin the news was better as no COVID-19 deaths were reported Monday, marking the first time since early September that the state has had two such days in a row.
The last time Wisconsin went two or more days without a single reported death from the coronavirus was the three-day stretch of Sept. 6 through Sept. 8.
The state’s seven-day average of new cases was at its lowest point since early July, but it increased marginally from Sunday. The seven-day average on Monday was 612, up from 610 the day before.
Nearly 560,000 Wisconsin residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 6,284 have died of the disease since the pandemic started.
In Jefferson County, there were 26 new cases of the virus reported since Friday. The county has had 7,827 cases of the virus since last March.
Wisconsin’s death count is the 23rd highest in the country overall and the 34th highest per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University. Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has decreased by nearly 42%,
Wisconsin’s vaccination rate dropped from a high of seventh nationally last week to 15th as of Monday, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. As of Monday, 14.9% of Wisconsin’s population had received at least one dose, which was ahead of the national average of 13.3%.
Nearly 353,000 residents have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, or about 6.1% of Wisconsin’s population, the state health department said.
— AP reports and Daily Union staff reports were used in this story.