The United States passed the 600,000-death mark from COVID-19 on Tuesday, as restrictions are eased and vaccination rates climb.
According to Johns Hopkins University’s worldwide map of COVID-19 cases and deaths, the death toll in the United States has reached 600,159 as of 4 p.m. Tuesday. More than 33.4 million cases were reported.
According to the global map, the United States has the largest number of cases and deaths worldwide. With over 29.5 million illnesses and over 377,000 fatalities, India has the second-highest number of illnesses and the third-highest number of fatalities.
The number of deaths in the United States had reached about 100,000 a month over the winter, but the country’s mortality rate has decreased from thousands of new fatalities per day to 170 new daily fatalities on Monday, as more individuals have been vaccinated. The number of new cases per day has also decreased, from 300,000 in January to 12,710 on Monday.
Because of the reduced number of illnesses and fatalities in the United States as more individuals become vaccinated, COVID-19 limitations have been relaxed.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the Empire State Building and other landmarks statewide would be lit blue and gold on Tuesday and there would be fireworks at 10 sites to celebrate 70% of New York adults receiving at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
The celebration also included lifting COVID-19 restrictions in the state.
“As we celebrate lifting restrictions and resuming our reimagined normal, we also reflect on the hard work of New York State’s essential workers and we remember those we lost,” Cuomo said in a statement. “New Yorkers have always been tough, but this last year has proven just how tough they are. Congratulations, New Yorkers, on all that your hard work has accomplished.”
More than half of the population in New York is fully vaccinated, according to Bloomberg.
Nationwide, more than 52% of Americans have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and more than 43% are fully vaccinated, the same tracker shows.
California, the first state to shut down, also lifted Tuesday most of its COVID-19 restrictions like social distancing and mask requirements at least for those fully vaccinated, CNN reported.
On Monday, Californians planned celebrations ahead of the planned lifting of restrictions.
Washington and Michigan plan to fully reopen, including lifting requirements for masks indoors by June 30 and July 1, respectively, joining all but a few states that have already reopened, according to a New York Times interactive map.
Some states haven’t set a firm date for reopening, but have set other criteria, including New Mexico, which has set criteria that it will reopen once 60% of the population has been fully vaccinated, and Oregon, once 70% of residents 18 and older have received one dose.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday the Delta variant, which was first discovered in India, now accounts for nearly 10% of new cases in the United States, NBC News reported.
The CDC said in a statement to NBC News that there is “mounting evidence that the Delta variant spreads more easily and causes more severe cases when compared to other variants, including B.1.1.7 (Alpha),” which was first detected in Britain.
Still, there is evidence that vaccines in the United States are effective against Delta and other variants, according to the NBC News report.