More than 15 months since the first confirmed death due to COVID-19 in the U.S., Johns Hopkins University reports Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 600,000 lives across the country – a trend that has slowed from thousands to just hundreds per day in recent weeks thanks largely to the ready availability of vaccines.

Over the winter, the nation was adding about 100,000 deaths each month. But as more and more people were vaccinated — particularly older Americans — the death rate fell precipitously. There are now about 375 deaths per day on average - down from more than 3,000 per dayin January.

Worldwide, the U.S. still is reporting the greatest total deaths, followed by Brazil, India and Mexico. The total global death toll stands at 3.8 million.

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