US approaches 500,000 lives lost to COVID-19

Officials are scrambling to clear the backlog of vaccination delays around the nation.
3:20 | 02/22/21

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Transcript for US approaches 500,000 lives lost to COVID-19
And now tonight's other major story to US approaching another dreadful milestone. Nearly 500000. American lives lost since the first reported death in this country just a little over a year ago. Half a million lives that's more than the Americans who died in battle during World War I world war two and the Vietnam War combined. In the New York Times that this poignant tribute on the front page today nearly 500000. Dots each one symbolic of a life lost. Here's ABC's a real shock. Tonight the nation on the brink of crossing that her rethink milestone. Half a million Americans killed by Colby nineteenth in just a year. Combining this contract. She learned my beloved middle school band teacher Alfredo by edged. Dying at sixty years old. When a Mike Albert together for over half a century. But over Christmas got the virus seeing their goodbyes to family over Zune and passing away ED part. Yeah. And they are not announced later he. Kobe tearing so many Afghan police parked its stunning when you look at the numbers. That timeline of deaths reported by the New York titans each of those tiny dots representing nearly 500000. Lives lost. You can see the staggering hole in just the last three months tonight cases falling nationwide I 73%. And hospital admissions dropping nearly 55%. Since last month. But the variance threatening to spark a new search. New York today reporting its first case of the South Africa variant a Long Island resident. And the vaccines may be less protected against it. If in fact this becomes more dominant we may have to get a a version of the vaccine. That is directed specifically. Against the south African I slept. LG also warning Americans could be wearing masks to 20/20 two. Saying the nation's vaccine distribution should be back on track midweek. After brutal weather delayed six million doses. Blackened matier communities bearing the brunt of the pandemic. And here in California governor Gavin nuisance eight toward a new vaccination site in hard hit. Inglewood why the focus on minority communities we got to be more transparent we ought to be more accountable at all levels of government to actually deliver these vaccines save lives. But first still many the vaccine just did not come shooting up the knee Underwood a wife and mother of six a nurse who worked hard to fight the virus. Only to die from it right before Christmas it would. And everything there. And we did so close to home. And at that time if that's you can't you know miracles involved in the queen at a house. Losing his claim the virus continues to take such a devastating told serene Sean joins us now live from the vaccination site in Inglewood California. And serene we know how important vaccines are to ending the pandemic and it sounds like that the nation could soon be getting a big boost. Yellen the vaccinations are happening right behind me and more could be on the way at eight advisory panel is having a public hearing about Johnson and Johnson's one shot vaccination on Friday. And it could green light it as early as next weekend. And we could add the first shots into arms by march 1. Twenty. Some much need is relief there's a real shot our thanks to you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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