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Global COVID-19 deaths surpass 6M; nearly 1M in U.S.

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A COVID-19 testing site is set up on Fifth Avenue in New York City on January 18. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/40ff4661177f659168592e1ffcadba40/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
A COVID-19 testing site is set up on Fifth Avenue in New York City on January 18. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

March 7 (UPI) -- In its third year, the COVID-19 pandemic reached a sobering milestone on Monday -- more than 6 million people worldwide have died from the virus.

Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking the outbreak from the start, showed that the overall death toll went beyond the historic mark.

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Scientists at Johns Hopkins said the spread of the virus has slowed in countries like the United States but continues to rise in Europe and South America.

Researchers said that since the start of the outbreak in late 2019, there have been close to 450 million cases worldwide. The United States has seen the most cases (79 million) and deaths (959,000) out of all nations, by far.

Experts say that Russia's war with Ukraine could complicate the picture in Europe as Ukrainian refugees flee to other countries. Some of the nations that are accepting the refugees, like Poland and Romania, have high COVID-19 transmission and death rates.

The CDC says that 76% of U.S. residents have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 65% are fully vaccinated. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
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Some Pacific Ocean islands, which were mostly protected from the pandemic because of their isolation, are only now suffering from the first waves.

For example, the South Pacific island of Tonga reported its first COVID-19 outbreak after international aid vessels arrived there to help in the aftermath of the underwater volcano eruption in January.

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"Given what we know about COVID, it's likely to hit them for the next year or so at least," Katie Greenwood, head of the Red Cross Pacific delegation, told CBS News.

According to The New York Times, U.S. COVID-19 cases are down close to 60% over the past 14 days after most of the country saw an uptick fueled by the Omicron variant in December and January. The Times also said U.S. hospitalizations are down 47%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 76% of U.S. residents have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 65% are fully vaccinated.

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According to Johns Hopkins, more than 10.6 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered since they were first authorized in late 2020.

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