The pace of mortality has slowed as the virus evolves, but it's still claiming two lives every day right now
Minnesota has lost 15,000 people to COVID-19, a number bigger than the population of Brainerd and a sobering marker in the state's 3½-year struggle with the infectious disease.
The 274 days since the last 1,000 milestone is the longest in the COVID era, reflecting the diminished risk from a coronavirus that has evolved into less virulent forms. It only took 14 days to surge from 4,000 to 5,000 COVID deaths in December 2020, before vaccines were widely available.
Infectious disease experts said the latest number is a new reminder of the need to take precautions, including newly formulated vaccine boosters that better protect against the latest variants. Minnesota's weekly update on Thursday reported exactly 15,000 deaths in which COVID was lab-confirmed, along with another 466 in which COVID was referenced in death certificates but not confirmed.