Coronavirus: US COVID-19 death toll tops 700,000

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 topped 700,000 late Friday evening, fewer than 20 months after the first known fatality linked to the coronavirus was confirmed domestically.

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The official U.S. count stood at 700,258 just after 8 p.m. - including 2,404 virus-related deaths reported in the past 24 hours - and remains the highest total reported by a single country since the pandemic began, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

That figure is greater than the population of Boston, and it took fewer than four months for the United States to go from 600,000 COVID-19 fatalities to 700,000, The Associated Press reported.

Meanwhile, the global COVID-19 death toll eclipsed 3.8 million, with Brazil reporting the second-highest number of virus-related fatalities at 597,255, and India rounding out the top three with 448,339, according to Johns Hopkins data.

The latest grim milestone has been fueled primarily by the delta variant’s rampant spread through unvaccinated Americans, of which there are roughly 70 million. The number of Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 has decreased, however, in recent weeks to about 75,000, compared with the 93,000 reported in early September.

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-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.