US tops 800,000 COVID-19 deaths in latest 'tragic milestone' of pandemic

More than 200 million Americans are fully vaccinated.

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Erin Carson

COVID-19's death toll in the US reached 800,000.

Sarah Tew/CNET

As the world studies the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant, the US has hit a new milestone in COVID-19 deaths. As of Tuesday, more than 800,000 people have died from COVID-19, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins' Coronavirus Resource Center.

"I urge all Americans: do your patriotic duty to keep our country safe, to protect yourself and those around you, and to honor the memory of all those we have lost," President Joe Biden said in a statement on Tuesday marking what he called the "tragic milestone." Biden also underlined that 240 million Americans have gotten at least one shot and that 200 million are fully vaccinated. 

Vaccines have proven highly effective in preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19, and booster shots are rolling out across the country. On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, said that while omicron "appears to be able to evade some of the immune protection" from COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, receiving a booster shot "raises the level of protection high enough that it then does do well against the omicron."

Globally, more than 5.3 million people have died from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins. 

Watch this: COVID-19 boosters and the delta variant: What you need to know