By Julio-Cesar Chavez
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - On a rainy Thursday evening in Washington D.C., the bells at the National Cathedral tolled 600 times, once for every 1,000 Americans who have died in the coronavirus pandemic.
Fifteen months into the pandemic, the official U.S. death toll is approaching 600,000, even as a national vaccination program has successfully reduced the rate of daily infections and deaths.
As of June 10, the overall COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. is 596,059, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The World Health Organization (WHO) puts the international figure at 3,758,560.
The bells at the National Cathedral were last rung for COVID-19 victims on Dec. 15 last year when the toll hit 300,000.
Nearly 52% of all Americans have been given at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the CDC, and 42.6% have been fully vaccinated.
On Thursday the CDC said it would no longer require travelers to wear masks in outdoor transit hubs and in outdoor spaces on ferries, buses and trolleys, due to the lower risk of coronavirus transmission outdoors.
The daily death toll in the United States fell on June 8 to 431 according to the Reuters coronavirus tracker https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/countries-and-territories/united-states, down from a peak of over 4,500 on Jan. 27.
(Reporting by Julio-Cesar Chavez; Editing by Karishma Singh and Richard Pullin)