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US deaths from COVID-19 comparable to the population of Sacramento

It would be as if every man, woman and child lost their lives over the course of the last year.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In the hardest-hit state in the hardest-hit country, 500,000 deaths from coronavirus take on special significance. This is especially true in a city like Sacramento, whose population is roughly comparable to the number of people lost to COVID-19.

Dr. Payal Kohli, ABC10's medical expert, said she was sad when she woke up this morning and realized the grim milestone the country had passed.

“I look back to just about a year ago when we had our first death, and I really never thought we’d be here," Kohli said.

She added that it is important to take a moment to remember the lives lost.

“I really urge every American to take that moment of reflection today with President Biden. Sit down and don’t just think about the number, but think about the people,” Kohli said.

It’s a sentiment echoed by Sacramento County’s public health officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye.

“Sometimes when people are thinking about a number, it might not hit home. But when you think about it more in terms of what you know, for example thinking about the entire city of Sacramento, that’s huge, that’s a huge impact,” Kasirye admitted.

“Think about every one of your neighbors, every one of your friends, every one of your family members in the entire city of Sacramento, gone in a span of a year,” Kohli said.

Kasirye sees the impact of the disease on Sacramento daily.

“We hear those stories, we read about the suffering from the hospital reports and we need to do everything we can to reduce that suffering,” Kasirye said.

The numbers don’t lie.

“For Sacramento County, it’s over 92,000 cases that have been reported and over 1,400 deaths,” Kasirye said.

Another grim reality, 500,000 deaths is more than the casualties of World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam Wars combined.

“Because of everything that’s happened, we’ll already have made history, but I don’t want to make any more history. At this point, I really hope that the worst of it is behind us,” Kohli said

Extended Interview: Health expert weighs in on U.S. hitting 500,000 COVID-19 deaths

ABC10 Health Expert Dr. Payal Kohli talks about the milestone of hitting 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 and what that means for the U.S. as a country in the fight.