US hits 150,000 coronavirus deaths

▶ Watch Video: As COVID-19 deaths rise, new controversy over hydroxychloroquine

The death toll in the United States due to the coronavirus surpassed 150,000 on Wednesday, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. More than 4.39 million COVID-19 cases have been reported across the country.

The grim milestone comes just over two months after the U.S. hit 100,000 deaths, and continues to make the United States the country that has reported more COVID-19 fatalities than any other nation. Worldwide, more than 662,000 people have died from the virus.

In the U.S., many states are continuing to battle a surge of new infections. Florida on Wednesday broke its daily virus death toll record for the second day in a row, reporting 216 new fatalities – up from 186 new deaths a day before. The state has now seen more than 6,330 COVID-19 deaths and 450,000 cases in total, according to its health department.

CBS News has collected stories of some of the lives lost to coronavirus. Among them are nurses, grocery store clerks, a former White House butler, beloved actors and singers, a mother and son who died nine days apart, a 45-year-old police officer, a 25-year-old master’s student, and many more people from all walks of life.

The CDC reports that at least 574 health care personnel — doctors, nurses and other medical workers in the U.S. — have died due to the virus.

Twenty-five states have seen a rise in new COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks, according to Johns Hopkins University, and health officials worry that young people under the age of 40 who are going back to work or going to bars and restaurants, are increasingly becoming victims and chief spreaders.

“We know that if we were to stay home, wear masks, wash our hands and take care of our neighbors we would get this virus under control,” Dr. Dara Kass, an ER doctor and Yahoo News medical contributor, told CBSN. “Unfortunately, people don’t really want to do that. Some people just want to take the risk they’re going to get it, take a pill and expect that they are going to get better — and that is not the circumstance we’re going to deal with with this virus.”

Instead, she warned, recent studies have shown that the disease can have long-lasting effects such as brain and heart damage. “I am very worried about a new generation of chronically ill patients,” Kass said.

Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report. 

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