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US death toll from COVID-19 surpasses 500,000

Laura King, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

What everyone wants to know now, of course, is when it will end.

For now, patience and vigilance must continue to be the watchwords.

At 52, Navajo Nation Police Officer Carolyn Tallsalt has two decades on the job, but she said this past year had been her hardest yet. The Navajo Nation, spanning portions of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, has recorded nearly 30,000 coronavirus cases, with more than 1,100 deaths.

Tallsalt, who patrols in Tuba, Arizona, 250 miles north of Phoenix, said she was disheartened when she saw people gathering inside homes and breaking the nightly curfew because they believed the threat had largely passed.

“They think, ‘Oh, things are better — there is a vaccine,’” she said. “It’s misguided thinking.”


Tallsalt hopes the terrible marker of 500,000 deaths will be a reminder for all Americans to safeguard their health as best they can.

“Let’s hope there isn’t another 100,000 deaths,” she said. “I don’t want to see 600,000.”


(Times staff writer Kurtis Lee in Phoenix contributed to this report.)

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