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U.S. surpasses 400,000 total COVID-19 deaths; adds 142,000 cases

Masked residents are seen on Sunday waiting in line outside the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City to receive a dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Masked residents are seen on Sunday waiting in line outside the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City to receive a dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 19 (UPI) -- The United States surpassed another somber milestone on Tuesday -- a total of more than 400,000 COVID-19 deaths over the past year since the start of the pandemic.

According to updated data from Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. death toll topped the 400,000 mark early Tuesday afternoon.

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Earlier, the data showed an additional 1,400 coronavirus deaths nationwide on Monday -- a significantly lower figure for the month and the lowest daily toll since Jan. 3.

The figure was the second day in a row in which there were fewer than 2,000 deaths in the United States, after several days with that figure between 3,300 and 4,000.

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However, health reporting nationwide is typically slower over the weekends and on holidays. Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Nationwide, there were also 142,000 new coronavirus cases on Monday -- which was also a significant decline, about 5,000, from the previous day.

There have been 24.14 million cases in the United States to date, according to Johns Hopkins.

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CNN reported Tuesday that a researcher at the University of Arizona says the coronavirus variant identified in Britain may have actually circulated first in the United States.

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Biologist Michael Worobey said, in fact, there is evidence that the "B.1.1.7" variant has been imported on multiple occasions.

"This [variant] may already have been established in the U.S. for some 5-6 weeks before [it] was first identified as a variant of concern in the U.K. in mid-December," he said.

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U.S. health officials have said at least 100 cases of the variant have so far been identified in almost two dozen states. Experts believe the existing COVID-19 vaccines, however, will also be effective in blocking it.

Other COVID-19 updates on Tuesday:

  • Washington, D.C., is preparing for Wednesday's inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Tuesday night, the two will attend a ceremony on the National Mall honoring all Americans who have died so far during the pandemic.
  • An investigative panel of the World Health Organization says in an interim report that the world was not prepared for the pandemic -- and blamed China and the WHO for reacting too slowly a year ago in their efforts to contain the outbreak.

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