U.S. COVID-19 death toll hits 800,000, 50 million confirmed cases

The figures arrive nearly one year into the vaccine drive
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A COVID-19 testing station in Austin, Texas
A COVID-19 testing station in Austin, Texas
(Sergio Flores/Getty)

Over 800,000 people in the United States as of Tuesday morning have died as a result of COVID-19, the highest recorded national death toll due to the pandemic. The tragic figure arrives as the U.S. hit 50 million confirmed cases of COVID on Monday.

The figure, compiled by the Johns Hopkins University, is roughly equivalent to the number of people in the U.S. who die annually from heart disease or stroke, according to the Associated Press

Though the United States accounts for about 15% of thee 5.3 million recorded coronavirus deaths globally, the true total around the world is believed to be significantly higher because of cases that were not recorded or were actively concealed.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden noted the "tragic milestone," calling once again for Americans to get shots for themselves and their children, and to schedule booster shots if they haven't done so already.

"I urge all Americans: do your patriotic duty to keep our country safe, to protect yourself and those around you, and to honor the memory of all those we have lost. Now is the time," he said.

About 60% of the population, or roughly 200 million Americans are vaccinated, which still falls far below the figure scientists and researchers say is needed to keep the novel virus under control. 

Vaccines became available last December, and available to all U.S. adults last spring, adding a level of confusion and tinge of tragedy to the more than 200,000 deaths that medical professionals believe were preventable due to vaccine availability. 

The number of COVID-19 deaths that have occurred during Joe Biden's presidency now matches the number that occurred during the duration of the pandemic under former-President Trump – a statistic that is particularly painful for a candidate who campaigned on ending the pandemic and getting the economy back to a healthy spot. 

Meanwhile, public health experts continue to assess what impact the new Omicron variant of the virus will have this winter, as they continue to encourage Americans to get boosted.