Credit: Adam Schultz / The White House

As COVID 19 deaths in the United States exceeded the 500,000 mark, Santa Barbara County inched closer to 400. Two new deaths each day were reported on both Monday and Tuesday, bringing the total to 398 by the Independent’s deadline. The rate of virus-related deaths and hospitalizations have dropped dramatically — throughout the county as well as California. But with the nation hitting the half-million mark, President Joseph Biden ordered flags flown at half-mast for the rest of the week.

The British medical journal Lancet has reported that 40 percent of the COVID-related deaths in the United States could have been prevented. Other reports indicate that the average life expectancy in the United States has dropped by 1.13 years, though Black and Latino people experienced losses three to four times higher than whites.

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