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coronavirus crisis

U.S. surpasses 750,000 COVID-19 deaths

On Wednesday, the United States hit another grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic, with the country's COVID-19 death toll surpassing 750,000.

Johns Hopkins University has been tallying the COVID-19 deaths, and if the Americans known to have died of the virus since February 2020 made up a state, it would be more populous than Alaska, Vermont, and Wyoming, The Washington Post reports. Over the summer, the highly contagious Delta variant began sweeping through areas with higher numbers of unvaccinated people, causing more deaths and hospitalizations. 

Florida resident Lisa Wilson has seen firsthand the devastation of COVID-19, she told the Post. Six members of her family died in three weeks over the summer, including her 89-year-old grandmother who was told by some relatives that she was too old to get vaccinated. The other five people who died — Wilson's uncle and cousins — also had not been vaccinated.

Wilson, her husband, and their four adult children are all vaccinated. Some of her relatives still refuse to get the vaccine, saying it's too new and their faith is stronger, and "we aren't angry, but upset about them not having the interest to take it," Wilson told the Post. Her cousin Gilbert Grantlin III is a minister who presided over four of the family funerals in September, and he is urging his relatives to get vaccinated.

"When do we finally do what needs to be done and protect our family?" he said. Grantlin has pushed back at relatives who say they won't get vaccinated for religious reasons, telling them, "The vaccine does not contradict your belief. The Bible tells us that 'for lack of knowledge, my people will perish.'" Read more at The Washington Post.