A woman looks at the “Naming the Lost Memorials,” as US deaths from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are expected to exceed 600,000, in Green Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, the United States, June 10, 2021 .

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

The US hit another dire milestone in the pandemic on Monday, hitting more than 600,000 Covid deaths, while the nation is delivering at least one vaccine by July 4th, which is given to 70% of adult Americans.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, deaths in the US have been slowing for months, due to an aggressive campaign to vaccinate the elderly and medically vulnerable in the country who are most at risk of dying from Covid. About 76% of Americans 65 and older, who made up the majority of deaths from pandemics, were fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health workers perform CPR on a patient at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) unit at the United Memorial Medical Center as the United States approaches 300,000 COVID-19 deaths on December 12, 2020 in Houston, Texas, United States. Image from December 12, 2020 2020.

Callaghan O’Hare | Reuters

Covid deaths in the US, which peaked in January with a daily average of more than 3,000 deaths, fell to a daily average of about 360 by Sunday, according to a seven-day average based on data from Johns Hopkins University based. The number of deaths has gradually decreased as vaccination rates have increased.

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Covid vaccines were approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration in December, followed by Johnson & Johnson in February.

Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, administered to nearly 300 million people, have shown greater than 90% effectiveness against the original “wild-type” covid strain. Studies have shown that the vaccines are still effective against some of the new variants that emerged last year, including the Delta variant first identified in India, but less so.

Johnson & Johnson has administered approximately 9 million doses of its single-use vaccine in the United States. The company’s vaccination was suspended by the FDA for 10 days in April after reports of rare blood clots surfaced in several patients.

The US has registered more Covid cases than any other country in the world – about 33.5 million cases, according to John Hopkins University. More than 176 million cases and more than 3.8 million deaths have been recorded worldwide.

As new varieties emerge that are more communicable and could potentially lead to more serious illnesses, federal health officials have been pushing young adults to get their vaccines too. Pfizer’s Covid vaccine received emergency youth approval last month.

President Joe Biden, his wife Jill Biden, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, and second gentleman Doug Emhoff attend a minute of silence and a candle-lighting ceremony to commemorate the grim milestone of 500,000 deaths in the U.S. from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the White House in Washington, USA, February 22, 2021.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

The effects of the pandemic were deeply felt in the United States. The national unemployment rate rose to 14.8% in April 2020, the highest since data collection began in 1948, when states across the country put lockdowns to control the outbreak, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Black, Hispanic and young workers were disproportionately affected by the bans. Throughout the pandemic, black workers had a peak unemployment rate of 16.7%, while Hispanic workers had a peak unemployment rate of 18.5%. Among white workers, the number peaked at 14.1%. As of May 2021, unemployment rates for black and Hispanic workers are still higher than those for white workers.

In February 2020, before most of the lockdowns, the US unemployment rate was 3.5%. Unemployment has improved but is still stubbornly high compared to previous years and stood at 5.8% in May.

Currently, more than half of the U.S. population, 174.2 million people, have received at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine, and about 44% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 64% of adults in the US have received at least one dose of vaccine, which is closer to an optimistic goal of at least partially immunizing 70% of all adults in the country by July 4th.