2021 US COVID-19 deaths top 2020 tally

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The nation's COVID-19 death tally has surpassed that of 2020, according to data from the CDC and Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University. 

The U.S. reported 771,762 COVID-19 deaths as of Nov. 22 at 3:25 p.m. CT. This total is more than twice the 385,343 deaths recorded in 2020, CDC data shows. 

Spread of the highly infectious delta variant, low vaccination rates in some parts of the U.S., and decreased observance of public health measures such as mask-wearing likely contributed to the higher death count, infectious disease experts told The Wall Street Journal.

The CDC's 2020 death total is likely an undercount and may grow with further revisions, the publication noted. Comparing 2020 and 2021 death totals is also imperfect because the nation's first COVID-19 deaths weren't recorded until February 2020, while 2021 began when the U.S. was facing a severe winter surge, according to the Journal.

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