US coronavirus death toll tops 700,000

The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States has topped 700,000.

Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University show the country reached the milestone on Friday.

The number of new cases in the US surged again during the summer as the highly contagious Delta variant swept across the country.

The average daily tally had topped 150,000. Average daily deaths were about 1,500 per day as of Thursday.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky, told reporters on Friday that the US is "beginning to see cases and hospitalizations decrease from their peaks".

But she warned that the rates of hospitalization and deaths remain higher in states with lower vaccine coverage.

The CDC chief strongly urges unvaccinated people to get a shot.

People who were fully vaccinated accounted for 55.7 percent of the US population as of Friday. The pace of inoculations has been slowing.

Businesses and schools in the US have begun to mandate coronavirus vaccines for their employees.

But some Americans, mostly conservatives, are still reluctant to get vaccinated.