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The COVID-19 toll

The enormity of the figure is hard to comprehend. In the past year, over 500,000 people have died from COVID-19. News reports have been full of comparisons — it’s as many as the number of Americans who were killed in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. That’s around 1,370 deaths per day, on average. At its worst this past year, more people were dying each day than died in the 9-11 terror attacks.

Against that stark statistic, there is reason for hope, however. The number of new cases has been slowing nationwide. The number of U.S. deaths continues to fluctuate, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, but it dropped nearly 8 percent in the past seven day stretch. The number of people vaccinated is continuing to rise, and the latest vaccine, a one-shot version by Johnson & Johnson, is showing signs of offering strong protection against the disease.

Vaccination will be the key to stopping the spread of COVID-19. If we can all continue the safety precautions and measures we have been using, it will help to give us time and lower the curve, the goal that we were asked to pursue when this pandemic started. Please, continue wearing face masks, washing hands, sanitizing frequently touched surfaces, observe social distancing, and avoiding large group gatherings.

Let’s try not to rush to the 600,000 deaths level.

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